Ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs Week 16 matchup on Christmas Day, Tom Childs of Arrowhead Pride was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Chiefs, brought to you by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Question: It’s become sickening within Raider Nation but calling the AFC Playoff race the “Arrowhead Invitational” has been pretty accurate over the last few years. However, the Chiefs head into this game with the 3-seed in the conference and two games behind the Ravens for the top spot. So, what’s your confidence level that Kansas City will host the AFC Championship for the first time in six years?
Answer: Right now, confidence is low. Although I do think the Chiefs will win out (spoiler alert), I don’t see that the Ravens and Dolphins will drop the desired amount of games for Kansas City to take the number one seed. I’m not saying it’s totally out of the question.
After all, if the Dolphins lose to the Cowboys and the Ravens lose to the 49ers this weekend, then all the Chiefs would require is for the Dolphins to beat the Ravens next weekend. I just have a hard time seeing the Ravens lose two games in a row — especially considering how well they’re playing.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. The last time the Ravens beat the Chiefs to the number 1 seed, it was Kansas City who ended up hosting the AFC Championship Game.
Q: From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like Kadarius Toney has run out of chances as he’s made several mistakes that have cost the team games this year. Are there any rumors that he’ll be benched, or does he bring something to the offense that people who don’t follow the Chiefs closely might not realize?
A: I am very much still a part of the ride with Toney camp, but I also accept that I am very much part of the minority here.
Let’s be clear, Toney’s errors have been inexcusable and display a lack of attention to detail on his part. I don’t buy this lack of love of the game BS from Gronk. That all sounds very Patriot Way in my mind.
What I do know is that Toney offers something that the Chiefs receivers typically lack: the ability to get open. If it’s a toss-up between him or MVS playing, then I want KT out there 100 times out of 100. He at least offers something if he can get the ball in his hands — and yes, I know that is a big if.
Q: On a related note, Skyy Moore was recently placed on injured reserve. How does that impact Kansas City’s offense, especially since wide receiver has been one of their worst position groups this season?
A: If you’ve watched enough Skyy Moore this year then you’ll soon realize that his absence will have little to no negative impact. At times, it looks like Skyy Moore has been out on the field for cardio but little else.
Now that he is no longer an option, I am intrigued to see what will be done with Moore’s snaps. Those numbers had already dwindled over the last month or so but there is some playing time to be had there.
I hope that the snaps go to someone like Justyn Ross or even Kadirius Toney. Dare I say even Clyde Edwards-Helaire playing in the slot instead? I mean, we all saw #AirClyde last week, right?
Q: Besides the bigger names, Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed, can you give us one defensive player who you think will make an impact in this game?
A: Justin Reid is a player who is getting better and better with every passing week in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. His aggressive style was always going to make him a perfect match for Spags but it is his football brain that is driving his improvement lately. I know PFF doesn’t grade him particularly well, but for whatever reason their grading doesn’t tie up with what I’ve seen recently.
If Reid deploys himself near the line of scrimmage or in the box like we have seen more of recently, then there is no reason why he can’t make a play or two that could ultimately end a couple of drives for the Raiders.
Q: DraftKings Sportsbook has the spread set for this game at 10 points and the total at 41.5. How do you see this game playing out and what’s your final score prediction?
A: Chiefs home games have been odd this year. They’ve either blown teams out or lost a close one.
The other issue is that I have no idea which Raiders team is going to turn up. Will it be the team that scored 42 points in a single half or will it be the team that lost 3-0 the week before? Maybe this week both teams will find some middle ground.
But as the game is on Christmas and seeing as the Chiefs wear red and white, I’m going for the Chiefs winning 37-17.