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Chiefs-Raiders: three big takeaways from Week 11

Patrick Mahomes is the NFL MVP frontrunner — plus two other items of note.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs won a big game on national television in comeback fashion — defeating the Las Vegas Raiders 35-31 on the road in a massive divisional game that stretched the Chiefs’ lead out to three games in the division with six games to play.

We broke the game down on the AP Laboratory Postgame Show — as presented by Ruback Fine Jewelry.

Here are three big takeaways from the game:

Patrick Mahomes is finally the MVP frontrunner

The Raiders gave Patrick Lavon Mahomes too much time when they scored with 1:43 remaining in the game. As it turns out, the reigning Super Bowl MVP only needed 1:15 to get the job done. The quarterback capped off a big night with a key throw to Travis Kelce with 28 seconds remaining in the game to secure the win for the Chiefs. It should put him into the driver’s seat for his second league MVP award in just three seasons as a starting quarterback.

The defense has some big issues to fix

If the Chiefs are going to make a playoff run, they need their expensive pass rush to be more productive than it has been in recent memory. Frank Clark and Chris Jones were silent on Sunday Night Football — and the defense is going to need to be able to generate pressure if the secondary is to hold up. The Chiefs don’t have much invested in the back end of their secondary, and that flaw can be exposed at times when the quarterback is comfortable. That was the case tonight. There were some coverage breakdowns and big plays allowed in the secondary — namely a pass interference call and big touchdown allowed by Bashaud Breeland. But everything starts up front for this team, and it needs to find a way to better affect the quarterback in the remainder of the season.

The Raiders are a legitimate rival

“Raiders Week” meant something different because of 41 Action News’ Nick Jacobs reporting that Jon Gruden and company took a victory lap around Arrowhead Stadium the last time these two teams faced off. Many thought the Chiefs would step on their throats, but the Raiders gave the Chiefs all they can handle. The ultimate deciding factor was that one team had Mahomes and the other did not. However, Vegas proved to be a worthy opponent. They’re building a solid program and should give the Chiefs a little resistance for the foreseeable future.

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