Behind Enemy Lines with Chiefs Wire ahead of Week 18

The final game of the regular season is here and to prepare you for that contest, we spoke with Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire to preview this AFC West matchup.

How would you compare this Chiefs team to previous teams with Patrick Mahomes?

I think this team is certainly one of the most well-rounded he’s ever had. Really the only unit where they’ve felt lacking this season is special teams, but that’s what happens when you replace veterans with a dozen rookies. On offense, the group is much more well-rounded with playmakers across the board at running back, receiver and tight end.

This defense is the youngest and most athletic group they’ve had during the Patrick Mahomes era and I think you’re seeing that in both their struggles and successes.

Has there been a WR who has emerged as a reliable option for the Chiefs this season?

I’d say that JuJu Smith-Schuster is the guy, but recently Kadarius Toney has been emerging as the most reliable and consistent playmaker at the receiver position. The Chiefs acquired him from the Giants at the trade deadline, so he wasn’t around for that Week 5 matchup with the Raiders.

He’s a special player and does some really incredible things on both designed touches and running routes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have his best game yet in Week 18.

Who is one under-the-radar player to watch in this matchup?

Trent McDuffie was on injured reserve during that Week 5 matchup between these two teams and I think he has the potential to be a big difference-maker in this game. He erased Jerry Jeudy in the Broncos a week ago and really seems to be hitting his stride late in the season. They’re using him more frequently out of the slot, so he’ll probably see a lot of Hunter Renfrow this week.

Do you believe this is a Super Bowl-caliber team?

Yeah, I do. I mean, you’re always going to have a chance when Patrick Mahomes is your quarterback. I think the improvements made by the defense and in the running game over the past month or so are what will make this team Super Bowl-caliber in the long run.

They have the ability to play complementary football, and even when they don’t they’ve been really good at just finding ways to win football games. I will say if there’s one fatal flaw for this team during the playoffs – it’ll be special teams. They’ve turned the ball over too many times on punt returns and the kicking game has been an inconsistent mess all season.

Who do you think wins and why?

It’s a tough week in the NFL in light of the Damar Hamlin injury. I think the Chiefs have done a really good job of supporting their players, but also taking care of business in team meetings and at practice.

The Raiders don’t have much more to play for than pride and upsetting a rival at this point, so I suspect they might be a bit more prone to making some business decisions this last week of the season.

I think it’ll be close as all games have been this season for Kansas City, but the Chiefs will walk away with another sweep of the AFC West.

Chiefs 31, Raiders 23

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Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire