The 5-3 Las Vegas Raiders host the 5-4 Kansas City Chiefs in a critical AFC West game on Sunday night.
This is a premier Week 10 matchup that the Raiders badly need to win. Let’s look at five keys to victory for Las Vegas:
A key to the Raiders’ victory over the Chiefs in October 2020 at Arrowhead Stadium was that they put immense pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He was uncomfortable all game. That has to be duplicated — and the good news for Las Vegas is that it may be easier than last year. With Yannick Ngakoue paired with Maxx Crosby, the Raiders have had a consistent pass rush in 2021. Plus, Mahomes has been shaky for most of the season. Keeping him uncomfortable would help keeping him from being at his best.
Have success in the red zone:
We all know the Raiders’ woes inside the red zone, they’ve had problems inside their opponent’s 20-yard line for three seasons. It was a major reason why they were upset 23-16 at the New York Giants in Week 9. Las Vegas was just 1-for-6 inside the red zone in the game. They cannot leave that many points off the scoreboard against a team like Kansas City. The Raiders must find ways to get into the end zone.
After ranking tied for 22nd in converting red zone drives into TDs in 2019, #Raiders vowed to improve that last season. They finished 23rd in 2020. They made same vow this offseason. They are now 27th.— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 8, 2021
Start better on defense:
The Raiders have allowed their opponent to score a touchdown on their first drive in the past three games and they have been have struggled in the first quarter overall in 2021. If the Chiefs can score quickly, it will give them confidence that their offense will have a big day. If not, it can have the reverse affect. So, the first drive will huge for Gus Bradley’s defense.
Win tight end battle:
The last time the Raiders saw Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, he scored the game-winning touchdown. Kelce has had some big games against the Raiders so containing him is paramount. For the Raiders, tight end Darren Waller had a good game against the Giants and I’d expect the Raiders to continue to target him often in this game.
Run the ball:
The Raiders had a strong game on the ground against the Giants. Getting starter Josh Jacobs and backup Kenyan Drake going on the ground would go a long way to winning this game. The Raiders’ offensive line had success blocking in the run game last week, and the opportunities should be there as well. The Chiefs are allowing an average of 4.7 yards a per on the ground, which is the fourth-worst in the league.