The Las Vegas Raiders will complete a bitterly disappointing season on Saturday at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, who have a chance to secure the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. PT.
Let’s look at five keys to the game:
Keep it up, Stidham:
Jarrett Stidham was a revelation as he tossed for 365 yards and three touchdowns and led the Raiders to 34 points in an overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17 in his first NFL start. Stidham, a free agent after the season, has a chance to make himself some money if he can put together another big performance and he could push himself into the mix of being the Raiders’ starter in 2023 with another impressive performance. Watching him in this game will be fascinating.
Travis Kelce has long been a Raiders’ nemesis. He had an interesting game in Week 5 in a 30-29 Kansas City win over the Raiders. He had seven catches for just 25 yards. Yet, he scored four touchdowns. I’d think the Chiefs will try to get more from their star tight end in terms of yardage. But be sure, he will be a focal point of the Chiefs’ red-zone attack. He ate up second-year Raiders’ safety Tre’von Moehrig, who has had a disappointing season, and the Chiefs will likely target him again.
Big finish by Crosby:
Raiders’ star pass-rusher Maxx Crosby had two sacks of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Week 5. The Raiders will need another strong performance from Crosby as they try to keep Mahomes honest. The Raiders had a tough time getting pressure with Chandler Jones against the 49ers and will need a big game from Crosby, who has a career-high 11.5 sacks. He has been quiet lately though and hasn’t had a sack since Week 14 against the Rams. He’s due.
Win the title, Jacobs:
Barring something unforeseen, Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs is going to win the NFL rushing title, joining Marcus Allen as a Raider ground champ. He has 1,608 rushing yards and leads Cleveland’s Nick Chubb (1,448) and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry (1,429). So, Jacobs should win it as he enters free agency. The Raiders could use a big game from Jacobs, who had 154 rushing yards on 21 carries against Kansas City earlier this season. Jacobs hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game in the past four games. Having a huge game from Jacobs would be a big boost for Las Vegas’ chances in this game.
The Raiders saw Pittsburgh interior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward wreck the game in Week 1. The Chiefs’ Chris Jones can do the same thing. The Raiders’ offensive line has to keep him away from Stidham,