Patrick Mahomes and the champion Chiefs travel to Las Vegas on Sunday with only one idea in mind: avenge the loss they suffered at the hands of the Raiders in Week 5 that cut a 13-win string that stretched back to the previous season. .
Facing Mahomes and the NFL’s second-most productive offense is a tough enough task all other things being equal. The challenge for the Raiders took on new dimensions on Wednesday when the team included seven members of its starting team on the COVID-19 list.
Raiders (6-3) head coach Jon Gruden announced that “virtually all of the team’s starting defense” was on the COVID-19 list due to the contact tracing protocol. Those players could act on Sunday as long as they continue to test negative on diagnostic tests, but they won’t be able to report to the facility until at least Friday.
It’s not good news when you’re faced with a Mahomes-caliber passer and an offense averaging 31.7 points per game, a talent-filled Kansas City (8-1) offense that has scored at least 32 points in seven games this season. , including a 40-32 loss to Las Vegas on October 11.
With so many – possible – losses on defense, Gruden will have to rely more on quarterback Derek Carr and an attack that imposed his most points (40) and yards (490) this season while visiting Kansas City. The Raiders offense, however, is no stranger to carrying the weight of the team by exceeding 30 points five times this year, always in victories.
Doing it for the second time in a single season against Kansas City could prove a bit more difficult. After all, the Chiefs have only allowed more than 20 points in two games this year, the loss to the Raiders and last week’s win over Carolina.
A triumph for the Chiefs would anchor them at the top of the division and put them on a firm path to their fourth consecutive division title. A new setback would completely shake the landscape for the postseason in the tight American Conference.
No option can be ruled out. For one thing, the Chiefs have shown their strength with seven of their wins by a margin of at least nine points. On the other, the Raiders are the best third-down team in the entire NFL, and with the presence of second-year running back Josh Jacobs they have the perfect formula to string together long offenses that limit Mahomes’ room for maneuver.
PACKERS (7-2) at INDIANAPOLIS (6-3)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers picked up this season right where they left off the previous one when they reached the National Conference final. Hand in hand with its stellar quarterback, Green Bay currently ranks as the first team to seed heading to the NFC playoffs.
Sunday’s visit to Indianapolis (6-3) could ratify the Packers (7-2) as favorites or send them down a slide in the NFC’s intricate postseason landscape. Faced with the best yardage defense in the league, Green Bay is going to need the best version of Rodgers.
Rodgers, the current NFL rating leader (116.4), leads the league’s sixth-best offense and is coming off three wins in his last four games. Despite Green Bay currently ranking at the top of the NFC, it’s worth noting that six of their wins this season have come against teams with losing records.
The Colts, meanwhile, are coming off a long week off after defeating the Titans 34-17 last Thursday to establish themselves at the top of the AFC South and deploy the best defense in the league in primetime.
Indianapolis, which also has a single win over teams that currently have a winning record, leads the NFL in yards allowed and interceptions and is fourth in the league with just 19.6 points allowed per game.
TITANS (6-3) at BALTIMORE (6-3)
Last January, the Titans shocked the Ravens and the rest of the NFL world when they traveled to Baltimore and eliminated Lamar Jackson and company in the divisional round of the American Conference playoffs.
The duel between two of the top three running offenses in the NFL could be equally important to both squads considering the tight postseason outlook in the AFC and the current state of two teams that started the season as wide favorites in their respective divisions and not They have met expectations.
The Titans are coming off three losses in their last four games, while the Ravens have only one win in their last three games. Even with more than a quarter of the regular schedule ahead, the importance of this confrontation is evident, especially at the moment both teams are going through.
Week 11 began Thursday with the Seattle Seahawks’ 28-21 win over the Arizona Cardeinals. The Seahawks (7-3) recovered alone, at least momentarily, the top of the Western Division of the National Conference.
The day continues on Sunday with the following games: Lions (4-5) at Carolina (3-7); Eagles (3-5-1) at Cleveland (6-3); Patriots (4-5) at Houston (2-7); Steelers (9-0) at Jacksonville (1-8); Falcons (3-6) at New Orleans (7-2); Bengals (2-6-1) at Washington (2-7); Dolphins (6-3) at Denver (3-6); Jets (0-9) at LA Chargers (2-7); and Cowboys (2-7) at Minnesota (4-5).
The action concludes on Monday with the visit of the Rams (6-3) to Tampa Bay (7-3). Tom Brady and the sixth best offense in the NFL host Aaron Donald and the second best defense in the league.
Bills (7-3), Bears (5-5), Giants (3-7) and 49ers (4-6) have their bye week.