Who's the Guy?
Patrick Mahomes could be closing in on his second MVP award after leading the NFL in passing yards (5,048), passing touchdowns (40), offensive yards (5,383) and total touchdowns (44) through Week 17. Mahomes' prolific playmaking ability has sparked the team to win nine of their last ten games while claiming their seventh straight division title. With the sixth-year pro thriving as a "dink-and-dunk" passer utilizing a quick-rhythm passing game that features an assortment of throws traveling 10 yards or fewer, as evidenced by his 30 pass touchdowns on such throws, the Chiefs' star quarterback could pick apart the Raiders' man-heavy tactics if he can throw from a clean pocket.
Know His Name…
Travis Kelce leads all NFL tight ends in receptions (104), receiving yards (1,300) and receiving touchdowns (12) while anchoring the league's No. 1 scoring offense. The all-star pass catcher is an unstoppable force as a super-sized wideout masquerading as a tight end in space. As Kelce completes his seventh straight 1,000-yard season despite facing weekly double-teams and bracket coverage, the Chiefs' No. 1 option is a headache for opposing defensive coordinators.
Don't Sleep On…
Jerick McKinnon is listed as RB2, but the Chiefs' third-down back is a problem for opponents as a matchup nightmare out of the backfield. The veteran playmaker leads running backs in touchdown receptions (eight) after catching a "tuddy" in five straight games. With Andy Reid willing to feature the running back in the passing game, the Chiefs can tax a defense with various playmakers on the perimeter.
The Chiefs have allowed the most touchdown passes (32) in the league, with opposing quarterbacks picking apart the secondary with surgical precision. The big-play barrage is partially due to the "all-or-nothing" approach utilized by a defense that brings pressure from anywhere on any down and distance.
Matchup To Watch: Nick Bolton vs. Josh Jacobs
The Chiefs' standout linebacker is one of just two players with 150-plus tackles, multiple sacks (two) and interceptions (two), but he must show up as a run-stopper to help the defense slow down Jacobs, who is questionable to play. The instinctive defender has a knack for shooting through gaps and creases to stop runners in their tracks. Considering Jacobs is the NFL's leading rusher, the Chiefs will need their enforcer to take care of the business between the tackles.
The Chiefs' wide-open offense will force the Raiders to defend every blade of grass from sideline to sideline and end line to end line. Although the unit is not as explosive as previous squads, the Chiefs create and exploit mismatches all over the field. As Andy Reid prepares his team for another postseason run, he could experiment with new concepts and tactics to create headaches for opposing defensive coordinators building plans to slow down the Chiefs in the playoffs.
The Chiefs' blitz-happy approach will test the diagnostic skills of a young quarterback attempting to decipher coverage on the fly. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo may dial up a few exotic pressures to create splash plays and turnovers to alter the game's momentum. If the defensive wizard cracks the code, the Raiders could have a tough time fending off Chris Jones and Co. as they attack from every angle.
View the best photos from practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as the Raiders prepare for their Week 18 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.