Sunday Night Football heads to Sin City, with the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) set to host the Kansas City Chiefs (8-1). The Raiders are aiming for their first season sweep of Kansas City in eight years, which would move them a game back of first place.
Meanwhile, the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs can pull away in the division with a win and bring their current winning streak to five games.
Here is a preview for Sunday night’s contest between the Chiefs and Raiders, complete with a free pick. Kansas City is currently a seven-point favorite on the road.
There’s no Super Bowl hangover in Kansas City, as the Chiefs look once again to contend for a title. Among the key players who will take the field Sunday night, quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the way.
The former NFL MVP has 25 touchdowns to only one interception while also throwing for nearly 2,700 yards. Others to watch on head coach Andy Reid’s star-studded team include rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
As a team, Kansas City is averaging 31.8 points per game, tied for the most in the NFL, along with 409.0 yards. Their 295 passing yards are the most per game as well, along with a run game that ranks among the top half of the league.
In addition, they are converting on 50 percent of their third downs, second to only their opponent for this game.
Defensively, the Chiefs are fielding a very underrated unit once again. Kansas City is allowing the sixth-fewest points per game at 20.3. They’re also giving up just under 366 yards per game and have been particularly solid against the pass but are struggling to contain the run.
Kansas City has prided itself in creating takeaways, earning eight more takeaways than giveaways.
The Raiders have been on the outside of the playoff picture looking in in recent years but are fully in the mix this season. Las Vegas has been boosted by the play of their quarterback Derek Carr, who has 2,156 yards and 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Second-year running back Josh Jacobs is having a good season as well, with exactly 700 yards and eight touchdowns. Vegas also has an elite tight end in Darren Waller, who serves as Carr’s main target.
With an average of 28.3 points per game, the Raiders are eighth in the league in points per game. Although they’re somewhat in the middle of the pack with just under 379 total yards, Vegas is a top 10 team when it comes to running the football, ranking seventh with 139 rushing yards per game.
In addition, they’re the only team that is above Kansas City when it comes to third-down percentage, converting 50.4 percent of the time.
Head coach Jon Gruden has taken lots of pride in the offense, but the defense is still somewhat questionable. Las Vegas is allowing just under 27 points per game, 19th in the NFL, and ranks 18th with 384.3 yards allowed.
The Raiders have struggled primarily against the pass, ranking 25th in passing yards allowed as well as third-down stop percentage.
Both teams are 6-3 against the spread this season. Kansas City is 3-1 ATS on the road with wins in all four games, while Vegas is just 2-2 ATS at home and 2-2 straight up. The Chiefs are also 5-0 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.
With this being an evening game, keep an eye out for the official actives and inactives list closer to game time. There are a few players, however, who have been ruled out.
For the Chiefs, offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are out, as is wide receiver Mecole Hardman. For the Raiders, linebacker Cory Littleton will miss the game, as will offensive linemen Trent Brown and Richie Incognito.
Earlier this season, when the Raiders upset the Chiefs as 11-point underdogs, their offense exploded for nearly 500 total yards, led by 346 of those from Carr. However, I do not see Kansas City taking them lightly again.
Look for Mahomes and company to roll against a Raiders team that has been hit or miss at home and which also has some COVID-19 question marks across its roster. Give me Kansas City and the points to leave Vegas with its ninth win of the season.
Pick: Chiefs -7