Editor’s note: We welcome Cam Mellor of Silver and Black Pride — our sister site covering the Las Vegas Raiders — for Five Questions with the Enemy as we head into the Week 11 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Raiders this Sunday night.
1) Is the rivalry back?
I would say yes — just because it’s fun to have competitive games in a rivalry. Plus, since the Raiders moved to Vegas, the Chiefs are winless against them. When you have the ability to stretch the field and win in the ways that the Raiders are winning this year, it’s always going to be a fun game against the defending world champs — and for that reason alone, even if it lasts just this year, the rivalry is back. 2020 needs a win. Let this be back. (Can you tell I’m willing it back or what?)
2) What would a series sweep do for the Raiders’ confidence?
Honestly, I am afraid of what it would do to the team. Letting recency bias slip in, the Raiders had a huge letdown after beating the Chiefs the last time around and got absolutely creamed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There were no redeemable qualities in the loss to the Bucs — at home, mind you — and it seemed like the team never got to the stadium in that one. I fear that the confidence from beating Kansas City twice in one calendar year would make this team susceptible to another letdown — but of even bigger proportions.
3) Do you expect the Raiders to be as aggressive as they were in the first meeting?
Absolutely. That’s been the recipe to success this season as it opens up the rest of the playbook. When you have someone who can occupy the deep portions of the field, it makes the defensive plans adjust accordingly. That opens up lanes for the rushing attack and allows the linemen to get moving in space themselves — something that has paid dividends, and roughly the only time the offensive line has played well this season overall. If you look at it as a sum of equal parts, the offensive line has been equally great in space when the downfield passing game is humming — and equally as bad when the downfield passing game is stymied, allowing defenses to ‘pin their ears back’ and key on Josh Jacobs and the rushing attack.
4) Do you fear a Chiefs team that wants revenge — and is coming off a bye?
Oh, absolutely. I obviously don’t know the full health of a team but with a bye week to go back and get healthy — all the while looking over the film from your lone loss on the season — it scares the life out of me, and it should scare any Raiders fan. Any good coaching staff is going to get better the second time around — but spotting Andy Reid another week is terrifying.
5) How will this game play out?
Raiders come out hot— hotter than ever after making Drew Lock look like a UDFA as opposed to a second-round pick. That performance against Lock, however, looks more like a one-off on the schedule so far, as the coverage unit has been porous — to say the least — all year long. Patrick Mahomes and company should be able to do numbers to the outside just as easily as they can over the deep middle of the field — and that means the Raiders will have to come out flying high. Raiders can score with some accurate deep shots and Jacobs pounding it down the middle, but the Chiefs are too dynamic to be swept by the Raiders. Kansas City evens the all-time score with the Vegas Raiders, 1-1, with a convincing late score that doesn’t show the true nature of how close this one actually winds up being.