Current NFL odds have the Raiders as a 9.5-point underdog. The Raiders will need to produce well offensively to cover the spread on the road this week.
Let’s take a look at their chances.
Kansas City’s Dominate Defense
When these two teams met in Week 10, Patrick Mahomes completed 35 out of 50 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
Derek Carr threw for 261 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Raiders totaled only 50 yards rushing, and they only had 15 first downs versus the Chiefs’ 29.
Since that game, the Chiefs have gone 2-0, with Mahomes averaging 222 yards per game. He hasn’t had a touchdown pass but does have two interceptions in these two games. However, even though Mahomes has struggled, the Chiefs’ defense has dominated in those two games.
Against the Dallas Cowboys, the defense held Dak Prescott to 222 yards and no touchdowns while intercepting him twice. They also recovered a Prescott fumble and held the Cowboys’ second-ranked scoring offense to nine points.
Against the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs intercepted Teddy Bridgewater twice, recovered a fumble, and hit the quarterback eight times (recording one sack).
Since Week 8, the Chiefs defense leads the league in 3rd-down conversion rate (25.8%), allows the fourth-lowest QBR from opposing quarterbacks (31.7), and has allowed the second-fewest points per game (11.2).
The Raiders Struggle on Third Down
The Raiders are 1-2 since getting beat by the Chiefs. Against the Cincinnati Bengals (a 32-13 loss), Derek Carr threw for 215 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He had a QBR of 32.4. The offense struggled in that game, only getting 72 yards from the rushing game and gaining one first down on seven attempts.
The following week, the Raiders rebounded with a 36 point performance against the Cowboys. Carr threw for 373 yards and a touchdown and had a QBR of 79.8. The team gained 143 yards on the ground, allowing them to dominate the time of possession. However, the team continued to struggle on third downs, converting three times on thirteen attempts.
Last week, the team lost to the Washington Football Team 17-15. Carr had 249 yards and no touchdowns, and the Raiders gained 76 yards on the ground. In this game, like their previous two matchups, the Raiders struggled on third down, only converting twice on eight attempts. In addition, they only had the ball for 26 minutes, while the Bengals had the ball for 33.
These last three games for the Raiders are a good representation of their season. The team has issues converting on third downs (33.8% for the season) and time of possession (25th). Their inability to hold on to the ball gives their opponents more offensive opportunities.
Las Vegas Raiders: Can They Cover?
Looking at the previous three weeks for both teams, I believe that the Raiders will need to run the ball effectively to put themselves in third-and-short situations that are easier to convert. I don’t think they’ll win this game if they can’t convert on third down.
The Raiders are facing a Chiefs defense that’s dominated their opponents for the past five weeks. I don’t see Las Vegas fixing their time of possession and third-down problems this week, so I don’t see them scoring more than 14 points in this game. So, in my opinion, there are better teams to choose from in this week’s King of the Weekend promotion.
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