For Week 9's Kansas City Chiefs game against the Green Bay Packers, all but one member of the Arrowhead Pride staff picked the Chiefs to win. All but one thought it would be a close game. That would typically lead to a pretty accurate group prediction. But none of our contributors foresaw such a low-scoring contest, so our 25-22 composite prediction was 30 points removed from Kansas City's 13-7 win. Our readers, however, saw the game somewhat differently. While about two out of three thought the game would be close, more than one in three picked the Packers to win. In 2021, no Chiefs game has been viewed more pessimistically by our readers.
In Week 10, the Chiefs are on the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by 2.5 points. Let's see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
With the Chiefs' front four finding some success against the Packers, I truly believe this is the beginning of an upturn in the fortunes of the Kansas City defense — and I know that I sound crazy right now. Obviously, I have to mention that the Raiders' defensive line has been excellent throughout the season — and that I fully expect them to get a fair amount of pressure on Patrick Mahomes, too. So my prediction comes down to which quarterback can better handle the pressure. Will it be Derek Carr or Patrick Mahomes? I am, of course, going with No. 15. Chiefs 24, Raiders 21
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
On paper, this looks like a game Las Vegas could narrowly win. But the Chiefs will be coming to the Nevada desert with momentum, while the Raiders will still be stinging from their loss to the New York Giants — and now have a full load of off-the-field problems, too. But Kansas City still has a lot of issues to address on the field — and a wounded opponent in a suddenly-tight division race can be very dangerous. Chiefs 28, Raiders 24
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
It seems as though anything goes in Raiders Week. When these two teams get together, you can usually throw all the stats out the window — but you cannot ignore the fact that Las Vegas is not good at stopping the run. The Chiefs' offensive line is built for ground-game success, so it would be nice if the coaching staff would hammer the ball down the Raiders' throats this week. While it was against the New York Giants and a Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers, the Kansas City defense has played great football the last two weeks. This could be a big week for the defensive line; Melvin Ingram has a great opportunity to get his first sack as a Chief. The secondary should be able to build on last week's impressive outing as well. But remember: anything goes. Chiefs 31, Raiders 17
Kristian Gumminger (@kgumminger)
The AFC hierarchy is a mess. At the midway point in the season, there are 11 teams better than .500, including the Chiefs and Raiders. Last season, the Chiefs split the season series with the Raiders. But this year, the Chiefs don't have that same luxury. When it comes to divisional games, they can't leave anything to chance. If they want any chance of making the postseason, they simply have to win. My player to watch is tight end Travis Kelce. He hasn't broken 100 yards receiving since Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers. It seems like each week, there is either a miscommunication between him and Patrick Mahomes — or an untimely drop. Right now, the connection they've enjoyed over the years simply looks broken. Fortunately for them, they will be matched up against a Raiders team that ranks 30th in the league against opposing tight ends, allowing tight end touchdowns in four of the last five games. Last season, Kelce had 16 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders — including a game-winning touchdown catch in Allegiant Stadium on Sunday Night Football. If the offense does make a turnaround, look for Kelce to be the fire that powers that engine. Chiefs 24, Raiders 21
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
This is the ultimate swing game. After all, if the Los Angeles Chargers lose to the Minnesota Vikings — and the Chiefs beat the Raiders — Kansas City would be in first place in the AFC West. Can you believe that? With everyone in the AFC (except the Tennessee Titans) falling back to the Chiefs, I firmly believe this team understands everything they want is still there for the taking. It's only a matter of time before Patrick Mahomes gets going — and the defense is getting better each week. Derek Carr will turn the ball over at least once Sunday night, which will be the difference. Chiefs 27, Raiders 23
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
One way this Chiefs team can get back on track is by playing familiar opponents — and that's exactly what is coming up for them in the last stretch of the season. Through nine games, the Chiefs have played just one AFC West opponent — and with turnovers, threw away a very winnable game. Now they'll play a division rival in four of their next five games. With the comfort of playing a familiar opponent, I believe we'll see the team look closer to itself. That doesn't mean a win will be easy — the Raiders are a good football team — but I know the defense is continuing to do enough to win. The offense could have its struggles overcoming the Raiders' very impactful edge-rushing duo, but they can do enough to come out on top. Chiefs 20, Raiders 17
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
If you want to beat this Raiders team, then you need to hit them in their soft underbelly on both sides of the ball. Both of their starting defensive tackles have sub-58.0 grades on Pro Football Focus. Maxx Crosby has been an all-world pass rusher this season, but his run defense is only slightly above average. This week, who starts as the Chiefs' right tackle will be very important. The Chiefs need to protect the ball and control the flow of the game. According to PFF, Raiders starting right tackle Brandon Parker's 37.7 grade is the league's lowest among starting tackles. Rookie right guard Alex Leatherwood hasn't fared much better, posting a grade of 39.1. If I'm defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, I line Chris Jones up on the interior as a 3-technique rusher over the rookie and let Melvin Ingram tee off on Parker. It's strange to see the defense win games in the Patrick Mahomes era, but that's exactly what needs to happen. Chiefs 24, Raiders 17
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
This week, the Chiefs should focus on running the ball against the Raiders, who are ranked 22nd in rushing yards allowed. Still, we will end up seeing Patrick Mahomes have over 40 passing attempts. Once we finally see the Chiefs beat a Cover 2 defense over the top, then we will see the short slants, outs and check-downs. Even though the two teams split their series last season, the Raiders should have won both games. Las Vegas has Kansas City's number — and with the Raiders adding Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator, his mindset will help the team defend against the pass. This game could easily be like the Thursday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens — or it could be a shootout. On this one, I'll meet in the middle. Raiders 28, Chiefs 24
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
Due to the strides the Raiders' defense has made, this matchup makes me nervous. The pass rush of Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue has made blitzing almost completely unnecessary. In addition, while he was with the Los Angeles Chargers in past two seasons, Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley turned in some top performances against the Chiefs. This game also feels like it has playoff implications for both teams. Will the Chiefs continue to turn the season around? Will the Raiders rise above an unfathomable season of off-the-field issues? Ultimately — even against better competition than it has seen the past two weeks — I believe the Kansas City defense will continue to show improvement. I think this will be the week that Patrick Mahomes is willing to take what the defense gives him throughout the entire game. I expect him to turn in a solid (if unspectacular) performance against a familiar opponent. Chiefs 27, Raiders 20
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
The AFC makes zero sense this season. One of these two teams might just be the best team in the conference, for all we know. The Chiefs' defense started the season historically bad — and now, the offense can't score points. The Raiders' pass rush has been good all season — and Kansas City might be down to its third-string right tackle. All of that seems like a bad situation — but let's keep picking against logic. The Odell sweepstakes are over. Kansas City doesn't have a choice; they have to make it work with what they have. They'll do that against the Raiders. Chiefs 31, Raiders 28
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
At this point, who knows what we'll get from the Chiefs' offense? At least the defense is getting better as the season goes on, right? The Raiders have a good record — and there are things about them that aren't a great matchup for the Chiefs. But I'm going to hope that the signs of life we saw against the Packers will carry through to this game. So... for lack of a better idea, I'll predict the offense breaks out a bit — and we mostly see a full-team effort. Chiefs 28, Raiders 24
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
Defensively, I feel good about what the Chiefs will be able to do against the Raiders. Led by quarterback Derek Carr, the Las Vegas offense is not threatening opposing defenses vertically downfield as they did early in the season — or even during the 2020 season. I believe that with what is a now more-imposing pass rush — read more about that in my film review of the Packers game — Las Vegas will struggle to keep Carr comfortable. When that happens, he becomes a very uninspiring quarterback. For the Chiefs' offense, we hope that while they're in the primetime spotlight, they can put together a clean, strong performance from start to finish. I like Mahomes to put together a sturdy three-touchdown, no-interception performance on Sunday night, leaving us feeling good about this football team before the Dallas matchup the following week. Chiefs 27, Raiders 17
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
What has become a little lost in this game is by the time it kicks off, it could be for first place in the AFC West, should the Los Angeles Chargers drop their late-afternoon game to the Minnesota Vikings. It is incredible to even think of that possibility given the beginning of the Chiefs' season — which started with a historically bad defense and an offense that can't seem to find itself. But getting healthier defensively is working — and though it was in games against Daniel Jones and Jordan Love — quarterback pressure is quarterback pressure, and it seems to be back. That will be critical against Derek Carr, who looked like a different quarterback against the Chiefs in 2020. The Chiefs will have to be more consistent offensively this week, which could be challenging in the face of a Maxx Crosby going up against the backup-of-the-backup right tackle. That projects to be the key matchup of the game. This feels like a pick-em, but I'll cautiously side with Patrick Mahomes after he finally looked like himself last week on his final throw. Chiefs 30, Raiders 24
Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)
I've flipped on this pick several times this week — but, ultimately, I think the game lines up slightly better for the Chiefs. Once again, the question seems to be whether Kansas City will lean into its advantages or default to its old ways. This matchup is begging the Chiefs to run the ball. Kansas City has been unwilling to commit to a downhill running game, but I'm hoping they do it just enough to open up their passing game and mitigate the risk of the Raiders' formidable edge rushers. If the Raiders stay in their typical single-high looks, the Chiefs could have valuable opportunities to push the ball downfield. However, those opportunities are predicated on wearing down the Raiders' defensive front first. If the Raiders can consistently get to Mahomes with a four-man rush, they'll win. Chiefs 23, Raiders 20
Which team wins Chiefs (5-4) at Raiders (5-3)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 points or more)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Raiders in a close game
Raiders in an easy win
Raiders in a blowout
|10||11||Ron Kopp Jr.||5||4||0.5556||32.7|
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
In Week 9, Ron Kopp Jr. came closest to the mark. His call for a 21-17 Chiefs victory had 20 points of error, giving him his second win of the season. Jared Sapp's prognostication for a 24-17 win was 22 points off. Seven other contributors made picks that had between 24 and 28 points of error. Since most of the picks were bunched so closely together, it all added up to very little change in the standings.