- When the Raiders beat Kansas City 40-32 in Week 5, Derek Carr threw touchdowns of 72 and 59 yards, his two longest of the season.
Kansas City travels to Las Vegas Sunday night, and they’ll be looking to avenge their only loss of the season. Other than that Week 5 loss at home to the Raiders, the Chiefs have looked like perhaps the best team in football, with big road wins in Baltimore and Buffalo being two highlights of the first half of their season. After a Week 10 bye, they should be rested and ready for Sunday night. Head coach Andy Reid is well known for his 18-3 regular season record coming out of a bye.
The Raiders are in much dire straits. Though Las Vegas is riding high on a three-game winning streak, they’ve had several players miss practice this week on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Seven of those players were activated Saturday, but the missed practice time is a big issue.
Per ESPN, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther had this to say: "I don't know how we can beat these guys with a full lineup at practice, let alone three-fourths of your lineup not here all week. What don't they have? We're playing the world champs. What don't they have? They have a great quarterback, great receivers, great tight ends, line is physical. And they're coming off a bye, so it's a daunting task.
"I know one thing, we're going to show up at 5:20 and we're going to give 100%, because that's what we do. We'll get these guys ready to play. Whoever is out there at 5:20, they'll be ready to go."
This game carries a massive 57-point total, and with the Chiefs averaging 37 points per game over three wins just before their bye, it’s easy to understand why. Patrick Mahomes has gotten hot of late, throwing nine touchdowns in the final two games before their bye after averaging 2.25 over the season’s first seven weeks.
But broadly, less competitive games tend to be lower scoring. While the Raiders are a solid team and will play tough, I’m taking Guenther at his word and expect the Chiefs to roll here. It’s just such an advantage having an Andy Reid coached team coming out of a bye playing a roster that’s missed practice time all week.
And if that’s the case, the high total might be hard to hit. We also see points trend down in the second matchup of divisional opponents, and the Chiefs have shown a willingness to run the ball late in wins earlier this year. There were 72 points scored in the first matchup between these two teams, but that was in part because the Chiefs were chasing and needed to score. The Raiders built that lead thanks to 59- and 72-yard second-quarter touchdown passes by Derek Carr, his two longest of the season. That’s not typically his game — he has just one other touchdown longer than 25 yards this season, and two more of 50 or more yards since the start of the 2018 season, both to Hunter Renfrow last year on two plays that featured a ton of yards after the catch. The Chiefs will surely have made adjustments to keep from getting beat over the top again here.
So if we doubt the Raiders’ ability to generate quick points again, and feel like the Chiefs will ultimately win this game comfortably, it feels like that 57 number is too high. I’m taking the Chiefs -8 and under 57.
NFL Expert Picks
Chiefs -7 @ -102
Under 58 @ -106
NFL Free Picks
Week 11 sees us entering the business end of the season. Thursday Night Football is a divisional clash between the Cardinals and Seahawks and two MVP contendeners in Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. With nine teams currently sat on 6-3 records we are likely to see teams begin to seperate themselves from the pack this week. The Titans trip to trip to Baltimore to the Ravens is a big game and one which is sure to feature a lot of rushing, elsewhere on Sunday we'll be keeping an eye on the Saints to see how Jameis Winston does as he steps into Drew Brees' spot because of injury. Sunday Night Football sees the Chiefs face the Raiders, looking for revenge after suffering defeat against Jon Gruden's teams earlier in the season. Monday Night Football rounds off the week as we see the Rams face the Bucs in an intriguing primetime clash.
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