The Las Vegas Raiders will wrap up their 2022-23 campaign as heavy underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook to their most-hated rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. With the NFL playoffs out of the question, the Raiders don’t have much to fight for but they can play a key role in disrupting the Chiefs’ Super Bowl hopes.
After the NFL announced that last Monday’s Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals will not be made up, the Chiefs just have to beat the Raiders this weekend to claim the AFC’s top seed, earn that coveted first-round bye and avoid going to Buffalo for the AFC Championship game. Just how important is all of that for Kansas City?
Well, Tom Childs of Arrowhead Pride thinks it could be a big difference between them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and going home before even making it to the big game, as Childs weighed in on that topic and a few others for this week’s five questions.
Question: How important do you think it is that the Chiefs get the top seed in the AFC playoff standings? Is there any chance they use this as their bye and maybe look past the Raiders this week, so the Raiders end up covering the two-possession spread on DraftKings Sportsbook?
Answer: It’s huge because this version of the Kansas City Chiefs isn’t winning four playoff games in a row — period — so this game is massive. The Chiefs have been known to look a game ahead at times throughout the Andy Reid era, and when they do it is a disaster.
However, I don’t expect the Chiefs to check out at all. They have a huge opportunity here and as I eluded to earlier, they aren’t playing their best football right now, so this game REALLY matters. They know what is at stake and that a loss will dramatically decrease their chances of winning the Super Bowl. Although I can’t guarantee A+ execution from the Chiefs Saturday night, I can certainly guarantee an A+ effort.
Q: Let’s say Kansas City ends up with the two-seed. Which potential Wild Card team do you think they match up best with, and which team worries you the most in the first round?
A: I would love to see the Steelers come to Arrowhead for the second year in a row if the Chiefs did happen to drop to the 2nd seed. However, I must say that I have serious issues with the introduction of a 7th seed into the playoffs, full stop. I strongly believe that the gap between the top of the AFC is much greater than it is in the middle to the bottom of the conference and that these games only carry injury risks for the better clubs.
Saying that I have no say in the way the league is run and only expect more playoff teams to be added as time goes by. So why not have the easiest game possible?
If the Steelers came to town then I think it would be a lot like last year: A Chiefs blowout win minus the coverage of the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s career.
Q: I know Patrick Mahomes has little to no flaws, but if you could pick one thing for him to get better at in the offseason, what would it be and why?
A: Remember when he was drafted and every scout out there was shouting ‘he has no footwork, he’ll never cut it in the NFL’? Well more fool them because it turns out footwork from a quarterback is overrated — especially when they have the arm talent of Mahomes.
Last week, it genuinely hurt him. His footwork was the sloppiest it has been in a while and he suffered for it in the second half against the Broncos. It didn’t cost the Chiefs then but we have seen what it can do when Mahomes isn’t on his A game. See the second half of the 2021 AFC Championship Game.
If he can tidy it up a little then it will make him a better quarterback, no doubt. Even now, I’m reading that back and I can’t believe that I am nit-picking at Patrick Lavon ‘Bronco Killer’ Mahomes.
Q: Who would you say the Chiefs’ biggest impending free agent is going to be, and how much of an impact would that player’s departure have on the team moving forward?
A: As per multiple top free agent lists, one of the guys frequently placed in the top 10 is Orlando Brown Jr. Honestly, he’d be lucky to be in my top 20.
Considering the outlay given to the Ravens for his services plus the endless amount of self-worth, Brown Jr. has been a bit disappointing. I personally thought he was mad to turn the deal that the Chiefs offered him last year — I just hope that the Chiefs don’t go back to him offering an increased offer because I think the Chiefs could find a replacement for a lot cheaper.
Q: Putting aside any biases, how do you think the playoffs play out? Do you like the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl?
I’m fully expecting the Chiefs fans that take a wander over to your site to get on my case, but they would be wrong. Yes, the Chiefs have Mahomes. Yes, the Chiefs have Kelce. Yes, the Chiefs have Andy Reid. But they also have A LOT of problems.
Turnovers, dropped passes, injuries, special teams mishaps — sadly, the Chiefs do it all. None of this is what’s needed for a title-chasing team. Week after week, Chiefs fans spend way too much time talking about special teams assignments or how a ball should be held on a place kick. Come on, it’s Week 18! Problems like this should not exist in Week 18.
Kansas City has gotten away with all of the above recently, but they won’t in January.
My playoff predictions: I originally had the Chiefs over the Eagles at the start of the season but as of now, I have the Bills over the 49ers.
Thanks for having me! Enjoy the game!