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Silver Minings: Chiefs starting 3rd string right tackle Sunday

Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers are injured, so Andrew Wylie will get the start

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Maxx Crosby sacks Patrick Mahomes
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Only one game separates the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West and playoff standings, adding to the importance of this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup.

Ever since the Super Bowl where Patrick Mahomes was constantly under pressure and struggled to put up points, the Chiefs’ offensive line has faced a lot of scrutiny, especially at the tackle spot. Before the big game, Kansas City lost both of its starting offensive tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, to injuries and the Buccaneers were able to take advantage.

The Chiefs knew pass protection was going to be an issue moving forward and opted to release Fisher and Schwartz, and retool its offensive line in the offseason. So far, that’s helped the interior of the line but Mahomes has still been under pressure as the exterior of the line has remained an issue, specifically at right tackle.

Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers have split the starts at right tackle in Kansas City, and have combined to allow 26 pressures, five of which have been either a sack or QB hit, in just nine games.

Both players have also battled the injury bug as Niang began the season as the starter, then Remmers filled in when Niang went down, but when Niang was finally healthy again, Remmers suffered an injury of his own. So, the Week 1 starter went back to his starting role, only to get injured two weeks later.

That brings us to this Sunday where the Chiefs have already ruled both Niang and Remmers out, meaning they’ll be leaning on their third option at right tackle.

That player is expected to be Andrew Wiley, who has been a guard for the majority of his career and surrendered a sack and earned a pass-blocking grade of 41.0 from Pro Football Focus in relief of Niang last week.

Getting after the quarterback has been a strength of the Raiders' defense this season. Maxx Crosby leads the NFL in pressures with 50 and primarily lines up on the offense’s right, so he and Wiley should face off against each other often. On paper, that matchup tilts in Las Vegas favor and could be key to keeping Kansas City’s offense that has several explosive weapons at bay.

Crosby had 11 pressures and one sack against the Cheifs last year, so hopefully, he can continue to build on his success against the team’s fiercest rival and get the best of his former college teammate. Wiley and Crosby crossed paths at Eastern Michigan for two seasons in 2015 and 2016.

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