In Week 5, the Las Vegas Raiders will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a critical AFC West matchup. To get you prepared for that contest, we talked to Charles Goldman, the managing editor of the Chiefs Wire, about this matchup. Here are his thoughts on the Chiefs this season and the rivalry game on Sunday between these two squads:
1. The Chiefs are 4-0 for the fourth-straight season (I believe). Outside of Patrick Mahomes, what is the biggest reason for their successful starts?
You’re right, an NFL record of 4-0 in four consecutive seasons, in fact. Yeah, it’s not all Patrick Mahomes. Alex Smith actually got that 4-0 run kicked off back in 2017. I’d say the biggest constant during these past four seasons has been the leadership and creative mind of Andy Reid. He’s just been at the pinnacle of offensive creativity when it comes to play design and we see it practically every week.
He also does such a good job of getting his team prepared to play, even in a unique and challenging season like the one we’re facing now. It has truly been something to behold and I love that he has no desire to retire. He’ll be coaching until they kick him out of the building.
2. Patrick Mahomes was the league MVP in 2018. But he appears to have improved quite a bit since then. Where have you seen improvements from Mahomes now that he is in his fourth season?
I don’t know if it necessarily qualifies as improvements so much as maturity. He’s doing a better job of protecting the football with no turnovers so far this season. He’s not forcing a lot of throws, leading to more complete passes. It’s only a quarter of the way through the season, but his completion percentage is about 1.3% higher than his season-best. That’s without any preseason dress rehearsal games too.
Mahomes also has the most rushing yards of his career through the first four games of a season. He’s doing a better job of recognizing when he can burn defenses with his legs. It’s all really made him that much tougher to defend against.
3. This Chiefs’ roster seems incredibly deep and talented in nearly every spot. But where is their biggest weakness that the Raiders could potentially exploit?
Linebackers in the passing game, but you might be a week late to fully exploit it. The unit has allowed 20 receptions for 247 yards and one touchdown so far this season according to PFF.
The reason it might be too late is that rookie LB Willie Gay Jr. earned his first start last week. He’s a speed mismatch, running a 4.46 at the combine. I won’t be shocked if they use him as an overhang or man him up on tight ends and running backs moving forward.
4. Give us one under-the-radar player that we should keep an eye out for in this contest.
One player that has really come on in the past two games for the Chiefs is Taco Charlton. He’s been hyper-productive on limited opportunities. In 53 snaps he has eight tackles, two sacks, one hit, five hurries, three stops and a forced fumble. I won’t be shocked if he earns more opportunities in the rotation moving forward, especially with Mike Danna dealing with a hamstring injury.
5. Who wins this game and why?
I just don’t really see any way that the Raiders can go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs team right now. The defense is playing great football, the run game is averaging just under five yards per carry, the passing game is still as explosive as ever.
I’ll admit that this Las Vegas team is better than any they’ve fielded in recent years, but they still have a long way to go to compete with KC on a consistent basis.
Chiefs win 35-17