With a 3-1 record, the first-place Kansas City Chiefs are host the division rival Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5’s Monday Night Football matchup. Even though the Raiders rank dead last in the AFC West with a 1-3 record, the Chiefs expect this game to be competitive; they are not taking their divisional rivals lightly.
At least, that’s what Kansas City safety Justin Reid thinks. Despite being in his first year with the team after signing a three-year, $31.5 million contract in the offseason, he understands the significance of the long-standing rivalry.
“I’ve been keeping up,” Reid told reporters on Friday. “I know that we have the Chiefs’ flag underneath the Vegas stadium. I know that this rivalry goes back decades. It’s been back-and-forth — and I know that for the city of Kansas City and also Oakland, Las Vegas, wherever the Raiders have been the last couple of years — it means a lot to both organizations.
“So I expect [the game] to be hard-nosed. Both sides [will] come with a lot of fire and energy — and it’ll be competitive.”
Reid and the rest of the Kansas City defense will be facing a tough matchup against a talented group of Las Vegas pass-catchers headlined by two stars: wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Darren Waller.
After the team traded its 2022 first and second-round picks to the Green Bay Packers for the All-Pro wideout, Adams is the Raiders’ new toy. Through four weeks, he ranks among the league’s best pass-catchers in all receiving categories with 26 receptions, 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Reid knows Adams can produce big results at any moment — so for the team’s defense, stopping him is of the utmost priority.
“Game-wrecker type of player,” said Reid of the Las Vegas receiver. “We need to know where he is at all times. Whether he is lined up at the one, lined up at the two, lined up in the backfield — wherever he is, every single play, we need to ID where he’s at to make sure we’re aware.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has targeted Adams 47 times this season — second only to the Los Angeles Rams’ Cooper Kupp. The duo has re-established their rapport from their college days at Fresno State.
Adams, however, isn’t the only player the Chiefs have to watch. Tight end Darren Waller is also a significant part of the Las Vegas offense. With Adams’s arrival, Waller has seen fewer targets — but Reid knows that Waller is more than capable of producing a big game in any matchup.
“He has all the attributes of a tight end that any team in the league would love to have,” Reid noted. “[He’s] athletic — really plays more like a wide receiver — [and] can make all the catches. [He] runs vertical routes, runs short routes, they feature him in the red zone — and then there’s short yardage. He’s the go-to target for Derek Carr; [he’s] always been a safety net for him.
“The Raiders are not lacking in talent. I think that they’re just piecing themselves together — and this is a big week for them, too — so we’re expecting their best shot.”
Reid and the Chiefs' defense will have their hands full. It doesn’t help that Kansas City ranks near the bottom of the league in passing defense — though part of that is because opposing teams are forced to throw more often to keep pace with the Chiefs’ high-powered offense.
Though it may be challenging, Reid says he is ready for this week’s primetime game. The bright lights of Monday night offer a little more than the average Sunday matchup — so much so that he could barely contain his own excitement.
“I mean every game — especially divisional games — those are always going to mean a lot to us,” he said. “We’re always going to put our best foot forward.”
But then Reid broke out a huge grin.
“But when you’re the only game on TV? You can’t beat that.”