It’s Raider Week in Kansas City.
There are few NFL rivalries that go back further — or have more history behind them — than the one between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders. Often, rivalries are fueled more by fans than by players themselves — but not when it comes to these two teams.
Whenever these two teams meet, the game carries a different sort of intensity. Years of bitter conflict seep into the crevices of each play, adding a different sort of importance to each snap.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes knows this.
“It’s a true rivalry,” he said during Thursday’s press conference. “It doesn’t matter what the records are. You’re going to go out there and play — [and] it’s going to be a dog fight.”
The Raiders have limped out of the gates to start the 2022 season. They’re coming into GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium with a 1-3 record — with their only win coming in Week 4 against the lackluster Denver Broncos. But Mahomes isn't paying any attention to that.
“They don’t have the best record,” he noted, “But [in] every game, they’ve been in the game (or been leading the game) at certain points, so we understand it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
In fact, the Raiders have been within one score in each one of their losses. Their average margin of defeat has been just 4.3 points.
Head coach Andy Reid echoed his quarterback's sentiments, remarking that Las Vegas is a good football team with a lot of talent in the trenches. One of the big guys that Reid mentioned was edge rusher Maxx Crosby, who has recently emerged as one of the league’s premier pass rushers. Already in 2022, Crosby has four sacks and seven quarterback hits.
Despite Crosby’s talent, the Chiefs managed to shut him out during both of their meetings last season, holding him to a total of three quarterback hits — and no sacks. The player who was tasked with limiting the defensive end’s damage was Kansas City’s starting right tackle Andrew Wylie, who was Crosby’s teammate at Eastern Michigan.
“They always have a good fight,” said Reid of the two players. “I think they probably both like playing against each other, because they just kind of beat the dog out of each other... Crosby’s gotten him a few times [and] he’s got Crosby a few times. That’s how it works.”
On the other side of the ball, there’s another college connection. During the offseason, Las Vegas traded with the Green Bay Packers to get All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams — who was a college teammate of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr at Fresno State.
“That guy is a pretty good football player,” said Reid of Adams — purposefully stating the obvious. “He has a relationship with the quarterback that goes back further than the National Football League... You’ve got to make sure you do a nice job in coverage against him.”
Reid also complimented Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.
“He’s sharp as a tack,” he noted. “And he’s been doing it a long time. So you kind of know — you have evidence — of what he likes to do. [It’s a] matter of being able to stop it. That’s the challenge.”
The only previous matchup between these two head coaches came in 2009, when McDaniels was the head coach of the Broncos. That day, Reid managed to squeak out a 30-27 victory — thanks to his defense holding the Broncos to just 241 yards of total offense.
Let’s hope that Monday’s game against the Raiders isn’t nearly as close.