On Sunday, the 5-4 Kansas City Chiefs are on the road as they look to extend their win streak to three games with a victory against the hosting Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders, 5-3, are also in desperate need of a win as they look to stop a recent skid. Vegas is 2-3 in its last five games, and a loss to a bitter division rival would be a tough pill to swallow. Both teams will surely come prepared to play on Sunday Night Football. How will things unfold? The Arrowhead Report crew makes their predictions.
Joshua Brisco: The Chiefs' defense has strung together two solid games against offenses quarterbacked by Daniel Jones and Jordan Love. Their offense has been hit-and-miss, with far more misses. Mike Remmers and Lucas Niang — KC's top two right tackles — are out against a strong Raiders pass-rush. Based on the Raiders' weakened secondary and the fact that Patrick Mahomes played better football than 13 points indicated last week, I'm giving the Chiefs' offense the narrow benefit of the doubt in a game they can't afford to lose.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Raiders 20
Jordan Foote: Well, for the second week in a row, it looks like I'm the only member of the staff predicting a Chiefs loss. Maybe there's some reverse psychology or reverse jinxing going on here? In all seriousness, I could absolutely see the Chiefs winning this one. Until they go out and prove that they're capable of beating a good team at this point in the season, though, I won't pick them to do so. This game will be a terrific barometer for both teams. If the Chiefs take care of business on the road, they're about as close to being officially "back" as a team can get. With that said, the Raiders have just as much riding on this one and both the home crowd and emotional element may give them the slight edge here. I don't feel great about this pick, but I'm too stubborn to change it.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Chiefs 28
Mark Van Sickle: It’s still hard to trust the Chiefs. However, the Raiders may be even harder to trust at the moment. They’ve lost their head coach, most lethal wide receiver and notable cornerback for a variety of reasons. They're also coming off a loss to the New York Giants. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are coming off back-to-back wins. There is a little bit of momentum there, even though the wins haven’t been impressive. The Chiefs' defense has looked much better and the special teams have been carrying the team. If the offense can click against a weak Raiders secondary, look out, AFC West!
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 24
Conner Christopherson: I am not doing it. I am not going to pick the Raiders. All logic so far this season has me leaning slightly Raiders, especially because the Chiefs' right tackles are dealing with injuries and Andrew Wylie will start against Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. Patrick Mahomes needs to have his best game in the pocket of the season to neutralize the Raiders' rush and get the offense humming again. I also want to believe in the Chiefs' new resurgent defense, but the competition in the last two games was not up to par. If the Chiefs lose, their serious hopes for this season are probably over. I'm going to bet they step up and take control, despite the many "buts" heading into this game.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Raiders 24
Marlow Ferguson Jr.: It’s troublesome to think about how the Chiefs’ banged-up offensive line could fare with Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue hosting a fired-up Las Vegas crowd on Sunday night. On the flip side, the Chiefs won’t have to gameplan for Henry Ruggs III’s breakaway speed as they did in last year’s loss. And this is a Raiders group that just lost to the same team Kansas City beat two weeks prior, right? The New York Giants were able to upset Las Vegas last Sunday largely through red zone and third-down execution on defense. The Chiefs’ defense? It has allowed just 6-of-24 conversions on third down attempts over the last two weeks. It's also equipped to take advantage of Derek Carr’s struggles against pressure, and could provide the Chiefs an edge in this must-win battle.
Prediction: Chiefs 26, Raiders 21
Taylor Witt: The Chiefs are hitting their stride on defense, having given up 24 points total over their last two games. Unfortunately, the offense has gone in the other direction, having only scored 36 points total in their last three games. Good thing the Raiders are next up, because they represent a great opportunity to fix the offensive struggles while maintaining some positive defensive momentum. Vegas is a team in free fall, having just lost to the Giants after losing their head coach and best wide receiver to off-field issues. There is no reason the Chiefs should lose this game if they even want to pretend to matter in the 2021 season.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 13
Jacob Harris: Derek Car is going to be so sad.
Prediction: Chiefs 28, Raiders 24