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Chiefs vs. Raiders Will Shape the Rest of Both Teams’ Seasons

One game doesn't define a season but for the Chiefs and Raiders, it can certainly impact it a great deal.

The AFC West is chaotic. The AFC, in general, is chaotic. As a result, the 5-4 Kansas City Chiefs are right in the thick of things after nine up-and-down weeks of football. 

Outside of the seven-win Tennessee Titans, a team that recently lost its best player but continues to play great football, the conference is a mess. The lone six-win team is the Baltimore Ravens, a squad that lost to the lowly Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. Behind them are several five-win teams:

  • Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
  • Buffalo Bills (5-3)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
  • New England Patriots (5-4)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)
  • Cleveland Browns (5-4)
  • Denver Broncos (5-4)

That's an insane amount of parity, or possibly just inconsistency. Regardless, the Chiefs appear to have picked a good year to have a slow start. Aside from the Titans, no other team has managed to separate itself from the pack. Even then, there's plenty of time left for things to change. Ahead of the Chiefs' Week 10 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, Hondo Carpenter of Raider Maven joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to talk about just how important the upcoming Sunday Night Football matchup is for both teams involved. 

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Both the Chiefs and the Raiders have plenty of reasons to succeed and, ultimately, win on Sunday. Kansas City has put together its first two-game winning streak of the 2021 campaign and is starting to thrive on defense and on special teams. If quarterback Patrick Mahomes finds the mojo he's had for the majority of his NFL career, that could catapult the Chiefs back into contender status. Football seasons are marathons, and a win over a division rival could be what puts the team back on track to win the most important race.

For the Raiders, it's been a bumpy ride. After starting 3-0, the team is 2-3 in its last five contests and has endured a great deal of hardship and tragedy in 2021. With a strong locker room, great quarterback play and a new addition in wideout DeSean Jackson, rallying around interim head coach Rich Bisaccia may not be as difficult as many think. Would there be anything better than pulling off a huge, emotional win over the reigning back-to-back AFC champs? Probably not. 

Of course, one game doesn't define a season. Either of these teams could win on Sunday and proceed to flop, or they could lose and suddenly catch fire down the stretch. With that said, both the Chiefs and Raiders have a ton invested at this point in their respective seasons. They've gone through a lot to get to where they are, and dropping down the conference standings would be one heck of a momentum swing. In a battle of two teams seemingly trending in opposite directions, this is as close to a must-win game as Week 10 can bring about. 

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Read More: Despite Inconsistency, AFC West Is Within Striking Distance for Chiefs