On Monday, Gruden said he is “very confident” the Raiders will rebound quickly from their blowout loss to the Jets but, against a Kansas City offense averaging 301.7 passing yards per game (second in the NFL), will “have to work hard to get Mahomes off the field.”
“He makes and attempts throws I have not seen before,” Gruden said, echoing his previous praise of Mahomes. “And when he gets hot, he can really hurt you. We’ve just got to keep the ball in front of us. We can’t give up the vertical bombs. We just can’t do it.”
Superstars who have solidified their place high on free-agent mountain
Perhaps Kansas City DT Chris Jones doesn’t have the name recognition of the guys above, but he plays like a superstar. The Chiefs will surely use the tag on him if necessary. Otherwise, he’d be my pick as the highest-paid non-quarterback in this free agency class.
Despite missing close to three full games, Mahomes is 10th in passing yards and tied for eighth in touchdowns. His 110.0 passer rating is good for fifth in the league.
Kansas City has beaten Oakland in nine of their last 10 meetings.
Mahomes will remind everyone that he’s the NFL’s best quarterback when the Chiefs win a fun, high-scoring game that puts the AFC West race to bed.
Prediction: Kansas City over Oakland, 30-24
Javon Kinlaw DL
Kinlaw is stout against the run and is also one of the best pass-rushing defensive linemen in the country. The Chiefs’ pass defense ranks fourth, according to Football Outsiders, but the run D is an abysmal 31st. Kinlaw helps with that immediately.
5. Oakland Raiders (6-5)
A playoff berth isn’t out of the question (hence the Raiders’ inclusion on this list), but the team’s schedule is not very appetizing. A trip to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs looks daunting, and none of their final four matchups—featuring the Titans and Jaguars at home and the Chargers and Broncos on the road—are gimmes. For the Raiders to give Oakland one final playoff appearance, the team will simply have to play better than it has for the majority of the year.
Sam Darnold just carved up the Raiders defense for 315 yards passing and two touchdowns, and averaging almost 16 yards per completion in the process. Burleson sums up his evolving view of their defense. “With everything they have gone through, trading Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley, they’re missing five starters on that defense. After all of that I would have said they had been doing a great job. But, after watching the Jets game, maybe they were just putting Band Aids over open wounds. And now, those Band Aids have started to break. So, I don’t expect the Raiders defense to be able to keep up with the Chiefs.”
Around the NFL
Last season ESPN tried to emulate CBS’s success with Tony Romo by hiring another retired Dallas Cowboy, Jason Witten. One issue: Romo is a once in a generation broadcast talent, smart and funny and natural and unique. Witten was not: to call him wooden would be an insult to pine. ESPN pulled the plug after just one year, and Witten returned to the playing field. Tessitore’s ropey debut was given a pass: Working with Witten would be tough for anyone, became the consensus.
Up stepped McFarland, who had spent much of the season patrolling the sidelines in the now-infamous “Booger Mobile”, one of the most bizarre and pointless inventions in the history of television. McFarland was a decent in-studio college football analyst, but he has been awful as a national NFL voice. He sounds like he’s started a sentence and has no idea where it’s going to end. On Monday, McFarland officially entered the Biden Zone. At this point, you don’t really care what he says, you’re just hoping he can stumble his way to a coherent conclusion. Tessitore is a real problem, too. That booming voice was perfect for the ever-ridiculous world of college football but falls flat in the pros. In the NFL, Tessitore sounds like a condescending try-hard.
» Steve Atwater, S -- 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 9 -- 2012-2020)
» Ronde Barber, CB/S -- 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 -- 2018-2020)
“We met as a staff, we decided that we’re going to start Duck this week.” Tomlin said. “Really, the decision is clear for us ... I thought he provided us a spark in-game. I’m hopeful that he’s capable of continuing to provide that spark as we step into this stadium.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is in the Chiefs’ division, yet in his six-year career, he has never once beaten them on the road. Carr’s passing yards-per-game average drops 99 yards at Arrowhead Stadium, his completion percentage drops 8% and his total quarterback rating drops 29 points.
The Chiefs are coming off their bye week, where Andy Reid is 17-3 in his career (4-2 in Kansas City). Frank Clark is apparently healthy and most recently played his best game as a Chief, the NFL’s most dynamic weapon in Tyreek Hill should be good to go and Patrick Mahomes had another week to rest both his right knee and left ankle
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