It seems like a mismatch, because it probably will be: the 2-9 Raiders vs. the 9-2 Kansas City Chiefs.
One team is going nowhere (but perhaps the bottom of the league standings), while the other is a contender for the Super Bowl.
When the Raiders and Chiefs meet Sunday at O.co Coliseum, the Raiders will have to play almost a perfect game – and catch some breaks – if they’re going to pull off an upset. Certainly, NFL oddsmakers see this as a potential wipeout, with the Chiefs listed as 14½- to 15-point favorites.
The Chiefs offense is explosive, with a young quarterback in Patrick Mahomes who can throw deep, throw accurately and run the offense perfectly, and he has a fleet of fine receivers and running backs, along with one of the NFL’s best tight ends in Travis Kelce.
Kansas City averages 434.3 yards per game, with 318.5 of those yards coming through the air. They are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, averaging a whopping 36.7 points per game.
The Raiders, meanwhile, rank 26th in total defense and have the third-worst scoring defense (allowing 29.7 points per game).
Mahomes, who took over as the Chiefs’ No. 1 QB this season with the departure of Alex Smith to Washington, has thrown 37 touchdown passes and has 3,628 yards through the air – an average of 3.4 TDs and 330 yards per game.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill may be the NFL’s best deep receiver (six catches of 40 or more yards in 2018), and the Raiders may have the NFL’s worst deep pass defense, having allowed 12 passes of more than 40 yards this season.
The Raiders haven’t shown they can stop anyone this year, let alone Mahomes and Co., so Raiders head coach Jon Gruden knows his defense will have its hands full. Gruden is so impressed, he had to cut short his own monologue this week on Mahomes’ talents.
“His overall skill set is sickening, it really is,” said Gruden of Mahomes this week. “He’s double-jointed. He can throw the ball from any platform possible. Running to his left, fading backwards. He can get out of trouble. I compliment everybody, I’ve been accused of that, but this guy has off-the-chart arm talent. Skill level is unbelievable. He has a playing style that reminds me of (Brett) Favre. He’s a young Favre. I think that’s why (Chiefs coach) Andy Reid went and got him. He won’t quit on any play. He makes a lot of plays when there’s nothing there. I don’t have time to talk about him anymore.”
The Raiders-Chiefs game is set to kick off at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.