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Arrowheadlines: The Raiders are good, but the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL

Chiefs headlines for Friday, November 20

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The latest

Bleacher Report’s Expert Consensus Week 11 NFL Picks | Bleacher Report

“There are a few things working in Kansas City’s favor,” Davenport said. “The first is the bye week—Andy Reid-led teams are 18-3 following a week off. The second is the revenge factor—it’s a safe bet that the Chiefs haven’t forgotten the Raiders dropping a 40-burger on them at Arrowhead. The Raiders are good, but the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. Visitors by 10 or more in a payback game.”

Predictions

Davenport: Kansas City

Gagnon: Kansas City

Chiefs continue to rely on rookies and second-year pros | USA Today

The biggest downside to success in the NFL may come each April, when the team that wins the Super Bowl also wins the rather dispiriting opportunity to pick last in each round of the draft.

Not that it’s a bad tradeoff.

Yet despite having to wait deep into the night to finally make their selections, the Kansas City Chiefs have managed to get a massive return on their draft investments.

First-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire and third-round pick Willie Gay have been on the field for each of the first nine games, L’Jarius Sneed has two picks in three games — he broke his collarbone and missed the others — and Michael Danna and BoPete Keyes also have played important defensive and special teams snaps.

Those rookies that just about every other NFL team had an opportunity to pick? They’re a big reason why the Chiefs are 8-1 and head to Las Vegas on Sunday with a chance to not only avenge their only loss of the season, but also essentially sew up the AFC West.

The credit for it goes largely to general manager Brett Veach, who received a long-term contract extension this week.

“I knew he was a really good evaluator,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said, “but it’s one thing to be a good evaluator and be the guy sitting in the chair having to make the decision, both on draft day and in signing free agents.”

NFL Week 11 game picks: Colts top Packers; Ravens over Titans | NFL.com

Kansas City Chiefs 34, Las Vegas Raiders 23

8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) | Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)

An improved Raiders defense over the last three games mirrors a sluggish Raiders passing attack over the same stretch, which is not a promising trade-off this week. COVID-19 protocols for both teams complicate this pick, but the Chiefs look like the kind of defending champions who play their best when they need to. Kansas City needs to avoid getting swept by Las Vegas.

Key Matchups: Derek Carr is prepared to do ‘whatever we have to do’ to beat the Chiefs | Raiders.com

All hands on deck against ‘The Cheetah’

When any defensive coordinator has to game plan against the Kansas City Chiefs, they’ll likely tell you Tyreek Hill keeps them up at night.

Hill’s blazing speed and elite route-running must be addressed this Sunday. Hill has consistently torched defenses this season, leading the league in receiving touchdowns with nine. He also caught three passes for 78 yards in the previous matchup with the Raiders.

Safety trio Johnathan Abram, Erik Harris and Jeff Heath will be given the task of eliminating Hill’s big plays down the middle of the field. Heath is currently the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his two-interception performance against the Broncos. He is also the only player to pick off Patrick Mahomes this season.

“Obviously they’re a big team in the AFC we’re going to have to beat if we want to get to where we [want to] go,” Heath said of the Chiefs. “Makes the game even more important.”

Super Bowl 55 odds: Packers sneak into top five, Ravens chances dip after upset loss to Patriots | CBS Sports

Week 10 of the regular season is in the books and the Super Bowl odds continue to paint a clearer picture of who the elite teams are in the league at this very moment. As was the case a week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs still remain the favorite to win Super Bowl LV, which would make them the first team since the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots to go back-to-back. It’s no surprise to see K.C. still remain atop this list after enjoying a bye last week. Now, they’ll head to Las Vegas to face the Raiders, who are responsible for their lone loss of the year. As long as they take care of business in Sin City, however, they should continue to be looked at as the favorite.

NFL Week 11: Picks and preview | YardBarker

On the spot: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes . Mahomes has been stellar this year, and is a leading MVP candidate again, but he needs to avoid the temptation to press, and be patient in trying to pick apart the Raiders. If he is, Kansas City will put a stranglehold on the AFC West and keep pace with the Steelers.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs: The Raiders, it’s safe to say, won’t force five turnovers this week. How, then, can they stop Mahomes? How about controlling the ball? Jacobs having a big game would go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.

The pick: Chiefs 38 Raiders 34

Around the NFL

Seahawks vs. Cardinals score: Russell Wilson survives early defensive onslaught by Arizona to avoid sweep | CBS Sports

Why the Seahawks won

Perseverance.

Russell Wilson was sacked on the first play from scrimmage and a second time in the first quarter. He was hit a total of eight times on the night and still found a way to make the plays that needed to be made, and precisely when the Seahawks needed them most. His stat line won’t make anyone write home to mother on Monday morning, but he was extremely efficient and, most importantly, he didn’t give the ball away — despite having two fumbles to his register (one being a bad connection on a snap). After throwing a combined four interceptions in the last two games, he avoided giving the Cardinals one, but instead hung two timely touchdowns on their neck, often using his mobility to keep the pass rush honest in the second half.

To that point, he added 42 rushing yards on 10 carries to his bottom line — more than Kenyan Drake delivered for Arizona (29). And to make things that much more difficult for the Cardinals defense, Wilson made sure Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf weren’t the only ones seeing targets. The contest began with an air of jeopardy for Wilson but wound up being a wheel of fortune.

Seattle Seahawks’ stadium to be renamed Lumen Field | ESPN

CenturyLink announced in September that the company was rebranding to Lumen Technologies.

The team’s stadium has been named CenturyLink Field since 2011. Before that, it had been named Qwest Field, starting in 2004, but was renamed for CenturyLink after it acquired Qwest Communications. The stadium was known as Seahawks Stadium when it opened in 2002.

The current naming rights deal, which was extended in 2017, runs through the 2033 season.

Former Miami Dolphins Super Bowl MVP Jake Scott dies at 75 | NFL.com

A free safety for six seasons, including two All-Pro campaigns, with Miami from 1970-1975, Scott’s career concluded with a trio of campaigns with Washington from 1976 through 1978.

Scott, a product of Georgia, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 a year after he was enshrined in the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll.

Scott produced a stellar career, but his most famous accomplishment was winning Super Bowl MVP to cap the Dolphins’ 17-0 season with a 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowll VII. Scott had two interceptions in the game and became just the second defensive player to win the Super Bowl MVP. Only eight defensive MVPs have followed.

Scott was around for the Dolphins’ repeat Super Bowl championship in 1973.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Film review: How to fix the Chiefs’ dwindling pass rush

So what’s the team’s biggest issue right now?

The Chiefs’ pass rush has appeared to take a small step backward since the Week 4 game against the New England Patriots. Even though there have been bright flashes from players like Chris Jones, Tershawn Wharton and Taco Charlton, the overall effectiveness of the pass rush has declined. Injuries, game scripts and pass coverage have all played a part in it, but it doesn’t take much film time to see the team struggling to generate pressure without bringing extra rushers.

In the first four weeks, the Chiefs defensive line accrued 37 pressures. Frank Clark had 11 and Chris Jones (in just three games) had 13. Pressure rates were never likely to stay constant — but since then, Chiefs defensive linemen have amassed just 34 pressures over five weeks. While that may not seem like a crazy difference, it’s nearly two fewer plays impacting the quarterback in each game — and they have effects beyond the plays themselves.

Still, it’s hard to be too upset about it. The defensive line’s pressure rate matches up quite well with most of the league’s top-10 pass-rushing teams — and even with 2019’s Super Bowl team. We’ve simply been seeing a downturn.

Let’s look into why it’s been happening.

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