The regular season finale is here as the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
The Chiefs have plenty to play for as they are still in contention for the No.1 seed in the AFC. They will also be looking to secure their second 14-win season in franchise history and make a clean sweep of the AFC West.
The Raiders are eliminated from playoff contention and are trying to get a look at some guys for next year, starting with Jarrett Stidham, who is their new starting quarterback. They’ll look to play spoiler and end their season on a high note with a victory over K.C.
Check out our gameplan preview from when these two teams met back in Week 5. There you’ll find more specifics about the Broncos’ offensive and defensive schematics. Now, let’s dive into their Week 18 matchup.
Chiefs' defense vs. Raiders' offense
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The Raiders’ offense started fast in their first matchup with the Chiefs, scoring on four of their first five possessions as they jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams was limited to three receptions, but he made each of them count by gathering 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Las Vegas has had a top-10 passing offense for most of the season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down with Stidham at quarterback. Last week Stidham threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 2 ranked San Fransisco 49ers’ defense. He looked for Adams early and often, who had 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
This will be a good test for the young K.C. secondary heading toward the playoffs. Eliminating the deep ball threat has to be its top priority. Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo may want to consider dialing down the blitzing and force Stidham to have to be patient and go through his progressions.
Stidham threw two crucial interceptions last week despite not being sacked. Keep your eye on Chiefs’ cornerback Trent McDuffie, who missed the first matchup and will likely get some opportunities with Adams. Another focal point for the Chiefs’ defense should be running back Josh Jacobs, who leads the NFL in rushing.
Jacobs has an excellent blend of power and speed and is also a good receiver. Tackling him with sound fundamentals will be key for the K.C. defense. Limiting Jacobs will put more pressure on Stidham and affect the play-action game. If for some reason Jacobs doesn’t play, the same would be true of rookie RB Zamir White.
Chiefs' offense vs. Raiders' defense
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The Chiefs’ offense started slowly against the Raider defense back in Week 5, not scoring until late in the second quarter. One of its main issues in that game was the play of tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Andrew Wylie. Both were consistently getting beat by defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was under duress all game long and K.C. struggled to run the ball. Crosby and Jones are one of the better pass-rushing tandems in the league, but Jones is currently on injured reserve. Brown and Wylie have played better as of late, but focusing on shutting down Crosby will make life easier for both players.
Screens and swings out of the backfield could also be a smart strategy. Running back Jerick McKinnon has been on fire as a receiver over the past month, catching seven touchdown passes in his last five games. Not to be forgotten is tight end Travis Kelce, who caught a whopping four touchdown passes against the Raiders back in Week 5.
A rematch against the Las Vegas defense could be just what Kelce needs as he hasn’t found the endzone in his last five games. The Raiders have the third-worst passing defense in the league and have recorded the second-lowest number of interceptions with just six.