NFL Sunday Night Football: Chiefs/Raiders Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday Night Football on NBC features a rematch of two AFC West rivals with playoff aspirations. Las Vegas upset Kansas City in Arrowhead Stadium on October 11th by a 40-32 score. The Raiders were 10-point underdogs in that game.

Las Vegas got blasted home the next week after stunning the Chiefs by a 45-20 score to Tampa Bay. Yet the Raiders have since won three straight games to raise their record to a 6-3 mark with their 37-12 win at home against Denver last week. Las Vegas forced five turnovers in that blowout victory. The Raiders' winning streak has come from old-fashioned, smash-mouth football as they have piled up 190.7 rushing yards-per-game during their winning streak while averaging just 138 passing yards-per-game. The commitment to running the football has helped the Las Vegas defense. During this three-game winning streak, the Raiders are holding their opponents to only 14.7 points-per-game with opposing quarterbacks putting up a low cumulative 68.1 passer rating.

Kansas City’s lone loss this season was against Las Vegas. The Chiefs have since rattled off four straight wins to raise their record to an 8-1 mark since that setback. Kansas City comes off their bye week after they defeated Carolina at home by a 33-31 score two Sundays ago as a 10-point favorite. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the way by completing 30 of 45 passes for 372 yards with four touchdown passes against the Panthers. Andy Reid has led his teams to an 18-3 record coming off a bye week in his career as a head coach with Kansas City and previously with Philadelphia. Reid has won all four of his encounters with the Raiders with the benefit of the bye week.

Injuries and COVID loom large in this rematch. The Raiders encountered a potential COVID outbreak early in the week when defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive. Ferrell and seven other starters on the defense quarantined for the rest of the week and did not practice. The best-case scenario for Las Vegas is that these other seven players test negative on Sunday are cleared to play in the evening. As of Saturday afternoon, the Raiders removed seven of their ten players from their COVID list, including safety Johnathan Abram. All these players still need a negative test on Sunday to be eligible to play. Ferrell will remain out given his positive test given the league’s minimum five-day restriction policy from an initial positive test.   

Las Vegas does have some good news on the injury front with left tackle Kolton Miller a full participant in the Raiders’ practice on Friday with defensive tackle Maurice Hurst a limited participant after both have missed time with injuries.

Kansas City will be without left guard Martinas Rankin, who is on the COVID list, but wide receiver Mecole Hardman was taken off the COVID list on Saturday. The Chiefs had hoped to get Sammie Watkins back at wide receiver after he took part in limited practice on Friday, recovering from his hamstring injury, but he was declared out for this game on Saturday. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is out with a back issue and was placed on the Injured Reserve on Saturday. Defensive end Taco Charlton was also placed on Injured Reserve. Left tackle Eric Fisher is off the COVID list and took part in full practice on Friday, so he should play on Sunday

BetAnySports lists Kansas City as a 7.5-point road favorite with the total set at 57. Kickoff is shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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