Week 10 brings the Raiders’ greatest modern-day rival to the desert, the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams have five wins on the season and their fair share of struggles, but it’s nearly impossible to predict how this game will go. After last year’s split season series with the Raiders beating the Chiefs in Kansas City and the Chiefs beating the Raiders in Vegas, the Raiders will look to start their 2021 matchup with the Chiefs with another tick in the win column.
As the two AFC West division rivals prepare for Sunday Night Football, here are some key points that can prove to be game-changers in Week 10.
The Raiders went into Week 9 the healthiest they have been all season. It was fun while it lasted, but it didn’t last long. LB Nick Kwiatkoski, CB Keisean Nixon, and DT Darius Philon were all ruled out during the game against the Giants and this week’s injury report shows even more injuries to add.
DT Darius Philon was added to the injured reserve list. Because of his strong play this year, it is a big hit to the defense. To bring in more manpower after adding Philon to IR, the Raiders promoted DT Kendal Vickers to the active roster. Vickers has made appearances in many other Raiders games this season and should see some action on Sunday.
The Raiders have ruled out rookie S Tyree Gillespie (hamstring) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle). CB Keisean Nixon (ankle) and CB Amik Robertson (hip) are doubtful to play on Sunday.
CB Trayvon Mullen is still on the injured reserve list and with the release of CB Damon Arnette, the Raiders are already short at CB. Casey Hayward, Nate Hobbs, Brandon Facyson, and Desmond Trufant are the CBs ready to go for Las Vegas this week.
Kansas City also has its fair share of injuries to tackle before Sunday Night Football. The Chiefs have already ruled out their starting right tackle and their backup right tackle, leaving their third-string right tackle to start on Sunday. Second-year CB L’Jarius Sneed is questionable to play.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has already thrown a career-high amount of interceptions this season with 10, third-most in the league. The Chiefs offense has also lost nine fumbles through nine weeks. They have struggled tremendously to keep the ball in critical situations including in the red zone.
The Raiders have done much better with turnovers this season. Carr has thrown for seven interceptions and the Raiders have only lost one fumble. While they have been able to keep the ball much of the time, the Raiders are coming off their worst game for ball security yet this season. Last week, Carr threw for two interceptions and lost one game-sealing fumble.
Both teams will have to take care of the football if they want their offense to make any noise on Sunday. Turnovers are often game-changers, especially with two high-powered offenses like the Chiefs and the Raiders. With a beat-up secondary, the Raiders will have to lean on their defensive line to pressure Mahomes and get the ball back to Carr and the offense.
This week’s game could send the winner into first place in the AFC West if the Chargers and Broncos both lose this week. In a wide-open AFC, divisional games are a critical focus halfway through the season, and this week is no different.
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