The Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) have won their last two games but would still miss the playoffs if they started this weekend. The Las Vegas Raiders (5-3) are still in the No. 5 seed in the AFC but could use a big win here after losing 23-16 to the Giants on Sunday. Let’s see the NFL odds.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Sunday, November 14, 2021 – 08:20 PM EST at Allegiant Stadium
The Chiefs are a 2.5-point favorite at many of BMR’s top sportsbooks, but they have been one of the worst bets this NFL season with a 2-7 ATS record. The Raiders (4-4 ATS) played the Chiefs very well in both meetings last year, including a big upset win in Kansas City. Can the Raiders rebound with another huge divisional win?
Chiefs: Can the Supposed Blueprint Trace Back to the Raiders?
Kansas City has gone on a wild ride from potential dynasty to potentially miss the playoffs this season. From Week 11 of the 2019 season through the 2020 AFC Championship Game, Patrick Mahomes was 25-1 as a starter for the Chiefs. The only loss was a 40-32 game to the Raiders last season in Arrowhead.
Derek Carr had a career day on vertical passes, but the underrated story was the way a bad Las Vegas defense pressured Mahomes 21 times despite only blitzing him three times. Mahomes covered a ridiculous 495 yards running around before throwing the ball or getting sacked that day.
When the teams met again in Week 11, the Raiders tried to pressure a little more and weren’t nearly as successful. The Chiefs had almost a perfect game on offense and Mahomes made the game-winning drive look easy.
But in Super Bowl 55 against Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers used a far more talented defense to rarely blitz Mahomes and get great pressure on him while taking away the deep plays. According to Next Gen Stats, Mahomes scrambled for 497 yards before throwing the ball or taking a sack that night, the most such yards in any game since 2016. Yet it was only two more yards than what the Raiders did to him in Week 6 last year.
That was the blueprint to beat Mahomes last year, and teams seem to be trying to copy it in 2021 with varying results. The Chiefs are still moving the ball at a league-best 41.5 yards per drive, but their turnover rate (21.4% of drives) is one of the worst on record.
The turnovers could be corrected, but the offense has been in a slump for five games, only scoring more than 20 points against Washington. Mahomes’ yards per attempt over the last five games is a putrid 5.95, down from a stellar 8.64 in the first four games this season. In the last two games, albeit wins over the Giants and Packers, Mahomes’ average completion is traveling less than 3.0 air yards. This is not going to beat many teams in the NFL.
In positive news: Kansas City’s last four games are the team’s four best games on defense this season. The downside? The Chiefs aren’t playing the injury-rattled Giants or Jordan Love in his first career start this week. They get a Las Vegas offense that had a lot of success against them last year. Mahomes and the offense are going to have to be a lot better to pull this one out.
Raiders: It’s Okay to Treat This as the Super Bowl (Again)
Last season, the Raiders had that huge upset win in Kansas City and were looking good at 6-3 going into the Week 11 rematch. But the defense let the team down in the end and the Chiefs won 35-31 in a shootout. That seemed to serve as the Super Bowl for the Raiders because they were blown out 43-6 a week later in Atlanta. The Raiders slumped to 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
The Raiders need to treat this as a huge game because, with the upcoming schedule, a loss here could send them on the path to another missed postseason after a good start. So far this year, the Raiders have looked improved with Carr taking more confident deep shots and better play from the defense.
But some very ugly off-field stories have had an impact on the field with head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation and the release of first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs following his fatal DUI crash. The Raiders lost as favorites to the Bears and Giants in the games immediately following both events.
The offense has been great at times this season, but Sunday’s loss to the Giants was already the third time where the Raiders failed to crack 17 points. Carr turned the ball over three times in the first multi-turnover game of the season for the offense. Carr is only 3-11 against the Chiefs in his career, but two of his very best games were a season ago.
Is the offense going to be less successful without Gruden running things? The jury is still out on that, but the Raiders are familiar with this divisional opponent. The Chiefs have added Melvin Ingram and significantly reduced the snaps over the last month for struggling safety Daniel Sorensen. This defense is not as pathetic as it was to start the season.
The Raiders have also allowed at least 20 points to everyone but Pittsburgh, so it’s not like this is expected to be another low-scoring game. Both offenses should put up some numbers and it will come down to situational play and turnovers. The Chiefs will be hard to beat if they protect the ball as they are still No. 1 on third down and go three-and-out less often than anyone. The Raiders go three-and-out at the fifth-highest rate in the league and are 27th at scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
The Raiders blitz the least of any defense in the league, so the Chiefs should expect another game of being enticed to run the ball. But the Raiders are mediocre at best when it comes to stopping the run and creating turnovers. Quarterbacks have also attacked them with the sixth-deepest average passes this season.
I think this is a good week for the Chiefs to get back to looking like the offense we are used to seeing. Mahomes is 11-4-1 ATS as an underdog or favorite of no more than three points. I am going to trust Kansas City to cover to close your NFL picks on Sunday.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.