Behind Enemy Lines with Chiefs Wire ahead of Week 10

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The Raiders are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in Week 10. To get you prepared for that game, we spoke with Charles Goodman of the Chiefs Wire about their 2021 season.

What has been the biggest reason for Patrick Mahomes’ struggles this year?

CW: The Chiefs’ offense has been predicated on a downfield passing attack and teams are doing everything they can to take that part of the game away. Mahomes has struggled to adjust his game with more check downs, short-to-intermediate throws and checks to runs when the box is light.

I think the offense as a whole has also had a problem with the rhythm passing game because of drops, penalties and negative or no-gain run plays. Then, of course, there are the turnover issues that really were comically bad or unlucky for Kansas City multiple times this year.

How has the new-look offensive line performed this year?

CW: They’ve been excellent, especially the offensive interior comprised of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. I think I’m most surprised by the rookies because you can make a case that they’re both All-Pro’s at the halfway point of the season. That’s a pretty rare thing for a group of rookies. The tackle play hasn’t been as great for Kansas City, though.

Orlando Brown Jr. has improved with each passing week, so that’s a positive. The right tackle position has been a bit shaky, with Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers splitting time there.

This week, both players are injured, so that could be a spot the Raiders could look to exploit. They’ll either play Andrew Wylie (Super Bowl LV starter at RT), Prince Tega Wanogho, or Kyle Long at that spot if neither Niang nor Remmers can play.

Who do you expect to get most of the backfield work for Kansas City in Week 10?

CW: Yeah, that really depends on what happens with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He was back at practice this week after dealing with a knee sprain. If he’s activated from injured reserve, he’ll probably get a healthy share of the snaps, possibly leading the team.

Jerick McKinnon might be in there frequently because he has emerged as the Chiefs’ top pass protector. There will also be a role for Darrel Williams in those short-yardage situations too. Derrick Gore is probably the odd-man-out if Edwards-Helaire is back this week, which is unfortunate because Chiefs fans like his game.

Who is one under-the-radar player to keep an eye on in this game?

CW: Rookie LB Nick Bolton and second-year LB Willie Gay Jr. have been a bright spot defensively lately. Bolton is a downhill thumper with really good instincts, who won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month Award for October.

Gay Jr. is probably the athlete the Chiefs have at the linebacker position, maybe the best athlete they’ve had at the spot since Derrick Johnson. They’ve made defending the run and defending the middle of the field infinitely easier for Kansas City in recent weeks.

Who wins and why?

CW: I’m taking the Chiefs in a close game, but I’d be lying if I told you the Raiders don’t make me a little nervous. They’ve played some good football on offense this season and have a pair of pass rushers that can wreck even the best of game plans.

With so much on the line in the AFC West and AFC conference, I’m expecting the absolute best shot from both teams. Chiefs 30, Raiders 27.

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