Monday night was fun, so let’s do it all again this Sunday.
After winning their 2019 regular season opener 24-16 over the Denver Broncos, the Silver and Black return to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for a Week 2 clash against the Kansas City Chiefs and their high-flying offense led by Patrick Mahomes.
Kickoff at the OACC is scheduled for 1:05 pm PT; here are six things to watch once the action gets underway.
1. Can the Raiders limit Mahomes?
In the understatement of the young NFL season, Patrick Mahomes is an absolute beast, and while completely shutting him down is probably near impossible, limiting what the reigning MVP wants to do with the ball would go a long way in helping the Raiders secure their second win on 2019.
Mahomes came hot out of the gates in his 2019 debut, throwing for 378 yards and a trio of touchdowns – and that was without the services of Tyreek Hill for most of the game.
Regardless of record, weather conditions, or anything else, the Raiders always seem to play the Chiefs tough at home, and with both squads coming off big Week 1 wins – and a gauntlet of road games upcoming for the Silver and Black – I expect Sunday’s game to be a closely contested one.
And if the Raiders want to get some good home cookin’ in before they hit the road, limiting Mahomes will be absolutely crucial.
2. Will the run defense remain stout?
You know what’s a great way to handcuff a dynamic offense? Make it one dimensional.
And while that’s easier said than done against an offense like the Chiefs, if the Raiders can put together an effort like they did against the Broncos last week, they should be in pretty good shape.
Yes, yes, yes, I know that all told the Silver and Black surrendered 95 rushing yards when all was said and done against the Broncos, but through the first 30 minutes of play, Denver was only able to gain a paltry 15 yards on the ground.
I’m sure LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams will do their best to make life difficult for the Raiders’ defensive front, but I’ll be looking forward to see if Josh Mauro and the boys can keep him in check.
3. Which tight end wins the day?
Darren Waller and Travis Kelce won’t square off against each other Monday afternoon at the OACC, but nevertheless, I’ll be watching both of them to see which athletic tight end has the more productive day for their respective team.
Kelce’s résumé speaks for itself – the four-time Pro Bowler has gone north of the 1,000-yard mark three years in a row, and with 10 touchdowns to his name last year, No. 87 is coming off a career year for the Chiefs.
Waller, on the other hand, is still growing into the tight end position – and with just 23 games as a tight end, it’s hard to compare him to Kelce – but the fact remains, he’s a vital piece of what the Raiders want to do offensively.
Both tight ends are coming off quality performances in Week 1, so I’ll be watching to see which guy has a better outing for their squad.
4. Can DC stay clean?
Against the tandem of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, Kolton Miller and Trent Brown were, simply put, outstanding.
With a combined 26.5 sacks between Chubb and (Von) Miller, the Raiders’ tackles had quite the challenge in front of them last week, but Tom Cable’s group effectively rendered the impressive Broncos’ pass rush a non-factor, as Carr was hit exactly zero times in the 24-16 win.
Well, Miller and Brown will once again have a big test in front of them this Sunday as they square off against the newest member of the Chiefs’ pass rush, Frank Clark, and his new partner in crime, Chris Jones. Clark played for the Seattle Seahawks a season ago and totaled 13 sacks before being traded this offseason to the Chiefs. Combined, Clark and Jones amassed 28.5 sacks, and it’ll be interesting to see how they work together.
We all saw what Carr did Monday night when he had time to operate from the pocket – if the Raiders want to start the season 2-0, they’d be well served to once again give No. 4 ample time to do this thing.
5. Will Gareon Conley suit up?
After a really scary injury last week in the win over the Broncos, the third-year cornerback was a limited participant in practice all through the week, and is officially questionable to play against the Chiefs.
It goes without saying, but Conley’s health is priority No. 1; however, if he’s at a place where he’s physically able to play, I wonder if Coach Gruden and Paul Guenther ultimately decide to throw him back into action.
I’ll say this, the Raiders could certainly use Conley’s services, as Mahomes and the Chiefs have a bevy of weapons – even without Tyreek Hill suited up.
If Conley isn’t able to rock Sunday though, conventional wisdom would suggest that rookie cornerback Trayvon Mullen would be the next man up, and start out wide with Daryl Worley. We’ll find out Sunday afternoon who indeed gets the nods in Week 2.
6. Episode II of the Josh Jacobs Show
Have a rookie debut, Josh Jacobs.
When all was said and done, the University of Alabama product had notched 113 total yards, and made it abundantly clear that he’s capable of being a bell cow back in the NFL.
And while the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t run a ton against the Chiefs last week, when they did, the group actually found some success, averaging north of 5.0 yards per carry, so keep an eye on No. 28 to see if he takes advantage of what the Kansas City defense gives him.
Any time you can keep Mahomes and his friends off the field is a good thing, and if Jacobs and the Silver and Black’s offense can control the line – and the tempo of the game – that’s a great place to start.
Jacobs was absolutely stellar last week, and I can’t wait to see what he does this Sunday.
Let's take a look at the Raiders' current 53-man roster heading into the regular season.