The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) host the Las Vegas Raiders (2-2) in an AFC West matchup on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs made history on Monday night in their victory over the New England Patriots, becoming the first franchise to start 4-0 in four consecutive seasons. It marked the fifth time head coach Andy Reid has guided the Chiefs to a 4-0 start. Reid took over the coaching duties in 2013.
After starting the season 2-0, the Raiders have lost two in a row. The Raiders scored 34 points in each of their two victories, but their defensive issues are now a major concern. They have surrendered 30-plus points in three of their four contests in 2020, which isn’t a recipe for success in the NFL.
The Chiefs are seeking to start 5-0 for the third time in the past four seasons. Here are four bold predictions for the Chiefs as they look to continue their perfect 2020 season.
1. Patrick Mahomes throws for 3 TDs with 350-plus yards passing
While Mahomes was not his usual sharp self against the Patriots, the former MVP should have an easier time against the Raiders. Even after a subpar game (for his standards), Mahomes has put together a dominant start to the season. He has tallied 11 passing TDs without an interception.
Mahomes has never lost to the Raiders. In four starts against the AFC West rivals, the Chiefs have averaged a robust 35.8 points per contest, topping the 40-point barrier twice. He slung four TDs in two of the four meetings. The Chiefs have outscored the Raiders 75-12 at Arrowhead since Mahomes became Kansas City’s starting QB.
With the over/under set at 56.5, this will almost certainly be a shootout. Mahomes should take advantage of an overmatched Raiders secondary and throw for at least 350 yards — much above his 283.5 season average. The reigning Super Bowl MVP will toss three touchdowns on Sunday.
2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire logs 125-plus total yards, rushing TD
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire should have a big day against the Raiders. Las Vegas ranks 25th in the NFL in rushing defense, yielding 138.5 yards per contest. The Raiders have surrendered a rushing score every 12.1 carries against them, the worst mark in the league. In addition, they have been gutted for 5.35 yards per carry, ranking 29th in the NFL.
Edwards-Helaire has not found the end zone since Week 1. His touchdown drought ends this Sunday.
Expect the halfback to be heavily involved in the passing attack after securing 14 catches in his last three games. Opposing running backs have amassed 31 receptions this year against the Raiders, tied for the third-most in the NFL. Running backs have racked up 276 receiving yards versus Las Vegas, the second-highest mark in the league.
Edwards-Helaire will do damage out of the backfield as a runner and pass catcher, registering 125-plus total yards from scrimmage. He has the potential of being Kanas City’s most impactful skill position player versus Las Vegas.
3. Tyreek Hill scores TD for fifth straight week
Tyreek Hill has caught a TD in every game this season. This porous Raiders defense has given up 13.8 yards per reception to wide receivers, so Hill is in a good position to do damage. He’s also chasing Dwayne Bowe:
Tyreek Hill has his 4th straight game with a Rec TD, tied for the 2nd-longest streak since the Chiefs joined the NFL.
Dwayne Bowe had a 7-game streak in 2010. pic.twitter.com/6nTkVrmbc7
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 6, 2020
Hill’s receiving yards are down from last year, as the Chiefs star wideout is averaging 71.5 yards a game and has yet to eclipse the 100-yard plateau in any contest this season. He can still, however, be relied upon to reach pay dirt and will continue his TD barrage come Sunday afternoon.
4. Chiefs win, but fail to cover spread
For all the praise given in this article to the Chiefs and the constant mention of the Raiders’ subpar defense, this game should still be competitive. The oddsmakers list the Chiefs as 12-point favorites. The Raiders will manage to keep the score within double digits.
While the Chiefs’ defense is a formidable and underrated group, they are beatable on the ground. Raiders tailback Josh Jacobs can exploit Kansas City’s run defense, which has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (161) per contest.
Jacobs lit up the Chiefs last year. In the first matchup, he rushed for 99 yards on just 12 carries before gashing them for 104 yards on 17 carries later in the season. Feeding Jacobs the rock is the Raiders’ best chance at victory.
While the Chiefs have allowed just one rushing score to running backs in 2020, that should change against Jacobs. Look for Jacobs, who ran for three TDs in Week 1, to find the end zone against Kansas City. Expect the Chiefs to win the game, but they will not cover the 12-point spread.