This divisional game will be played in Kansas City, although home field advantage isn’t the same these days. Even though the Raiders have struggled against some of the better teams this season, they still sit comfortably in second place at 2-2. A divisional win for them would be monumentally important for them if they want to make the playoffs this season. Although on paper the Chiefs are the better team, divisional games are unpredictable and are always exciting.
Here are some bold predictions for the Raiders-Chiefs game.
1. Derek Carr will have more passing yards than Patrick Mahomes
As of Week 4, the Raiders have the 26th-best rushing defense in the NFL and the Chiefs have the eighth-best rushing offense. Expect the Chiefs to run the ball early and often. After taking a sizable lead, Derek Carr will need to throw the ball to spark a comeback. The Raiders passer will struggle against a Chiefs defense that has been excellent through the first quarter of the season, but ultimately will come through and help Vegas make this game respectable.
The Chiefs lost their top corner, rookie L’Jarius Sneed to injury, so Raiders receivers shouldn’t have a difficult time getting open. Carr is a notoriously accurate QB, so the Raiders passing attack should be effective on Sunday. It is expected that Carr throws over 300 yards against his division rivals.
2. The Raiders will allow over 40 points
The Raiders have struggled to keep guys out of the end zone this year, allowing 30 points per game to their opponents in 2020. The Las Vegas defense has struggled mightily against the run, allowing 138 yards per game. Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is poised to have a monster game at home this week.
The Raiders also have one of the weakest pass-rushing attacks in the NFL this season, averaging only one sack per game. They also rank near the bottom in hurries and quarterback pressures. If the Raiders give Patrick Mahomes a clean pocket, this game will get out of hand—and in a hurry. This Chiefs’ offense is built to make big plays and making them often. Regardless of who wins the game, it’s likely that the Chiefs score a whole bunch of points in this one.
3. Henry Ruggs will score his first career TD
As the first wide receiver taken off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, Henry Ruggs has been surprisingly unproductive. He has mustered only four catches for 59 yards in two games played this year and has been a virtual non-factor in the Raider offense. The Chiefs lost their top cornerback in the offseason (Kendall Fuller) and just lost their rookie phenom L’Jarius Sneed to injury. They go into this matchup with Antonio Hamilton, Charvarious Ward, and Rashad Fenton playing corner for them. This has Henry Ruggs big play written all over it.
If the Raiders trail early because of their inability to stop the Kansas City running game, Derek Carr will likely be asked to throw the ball downfield for quick scores. There is no score quicker than the deep ball to one of the fastest players in the NFL. Ruggs will be targeted for multiple big plays in this game and it’s likely that he takes one of those big plays to the house. Welcome to the NFL, Henry Ruggs.
4. The Raiders allow the most rushing yards in Week 5
As mentioned before, the Raiders’ rush defense has not been very good this season. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, has been excellent between the tackles this season, so it is expected that he continues his strong play against his division rivals. With the threat of Patrick Mahomes torching the Raiders defense with the deep ball, the Raiders will likely play in coverage and defend the pass. If the linebackers are dropping in coverage, the running game becomes wide open.
Edwards-Helaire is a playmaker. If you give him the ball in open space, he will likely make one or two people miss, break some tackles, and create big plays. The Chiefs will look to use the running game early and often to set up play action later in the game. Edwards-Helaire is going to tear up that Raiders defense and lead the entire NFL in rushing yards in Week 5.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs look like they are on track to get right back to the Super Bowl this year. Starting the season with four straight wins (again), the Chiefs are poised to steamroll any opponent that is put in front of them. The Raiders, however, have played tough in every game. A Gruden led roster will never back down against any opponent, regardless of stage or personnel. Earlier this year the Raiders took down Drew Brees and the Saints in Monday Night Football. They look to move to 3-2 and avoid their third straight loss.
If you end up watching this AFC West showdown, expect to see a lot of scoring on both sides, Edwards-Helaire slicing through the Raiders defense like Swiss cheese, and Henry Ruggs crossing the plain for the first time in his career.