1) Can the Raiders establish the run again?
While Josh Jacobs has been effective this season, running the ball against the Chiefs will be easier said than done.
Jacobs is currently fifth in the league in rushing yards (336) and is coming off a career-high performance in that category with 144 rushing yards against the Denver Broncos. However, the Kansas City Chiefs defense is first in fewest rushing yards allowed this season. Head Coach Josh McDaniels attributes the Chiefs' success in defending the run to the fast pace they come out and attack teams with on both sides of the ball.
"They're a good defense in general," McDaniels said Saturday morning. "First, they play with good technique and fundamentals. You can see that jumps off the tape, use their hands well and try to close the space as much as they can in the running game. They challenge it with some different looks. There's going to be some pressures that you're going to have to deal with in a running game, there's some moving bodies in there when they do that.
"And at the same time, I think one of the things that they've done an incredible job of is they get off to a good start and then they don't have to play as many runs because the game flips a little bit on them. So, complementary football is obviously going to be a big part of this game."
2) Mad Maxx on baby watch
Maxx Crosby has arguably been one of the most crucial pieces to the Raiders defense this season. The fourth-year edge rusher hasn't let up since his breakout Pro Bowl season in 2021, as he's currently leading the team in sacks (four) and is leading the NFL in tackles for loss (eight).
While this primetime game is of the upmost importance for the Raiders, Crosby has another vital thing on his mind – the birth of his first daughter. According to Crosby, the baby is expected any day now, and it could alter his status for the game Monday. While McDaniels is planning to have his All Pro edge rusher in action, he knows that things of this statue are bigger than the game of football.
"I think, obviously, that comes first and that's an experience he'll never get back." said McDaniels, a father of four. "So, we'll see how it goes, and we'll do what we have to do as a football team."
3) The ascension of Alex Bars
An interesting development on the Raiders offensive line has been Alex Bars' elevation from the practice squad.
The guard came to Las Vegas from the Chicago Bears, where he started 11 games with the Bears and a couple weeks ago, got his first start as a Raider in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He started the 2022 season on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster going into Week 3.
"On practice squad, I was working everyday to be on the active roster in a starting position. I was preparing every day to get to that point, " Bars said. "Studying tape, preparing like I was starting, doing extra in the weight room, doing everything I could to make sure I was ready come game time."
In his two starts on the offensive line, Bars has seemingly impressed the coaching staff – playing 100 percent of offensive snaps in both of those games.
"Alex has been a consistent contributor to us here the last few weeks," McDaniels said Monday after the Broncos win. "He's had great effort, a great mindset and attitude the entire time he's been here, and just consistently tries to work at his craft. I think he's given us some dependable play over there. He's been pretty physical. The communication on the left side has been pretty good."
4) Primetime Tae
When the lights are bright, Davante Adams delivers.
The Raiders receiver enters Monday night having surpassed 100 receiving yards in each of his past five games in primetime. That is tied with Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp (active streak) for the longest such streak since 1970.
"Any division game, you've got to pay a little bit more attention to," Adams on facing the Chiefs. "We obviously know that those are going to be huge games, and especially against a really good team like this. You can't take anybody lightly, but you've definitely got to get up to play a team like this – especially going into their place where the Raiders haven't done a great job in the past, which luckily for us that has nothing to do with this game and this team, this time."
If Adams has at least 100 receiving yards against Kansas City, he'll become the first player to record at least 100 receiving yards in six consecutive primetime games since 1970.
5) No. 15 in red
Anytime you have to go up against Patrick Mahomes, it's going to be a long day.
In the Chiefs quarterback's eight starts against the Silver and Black, he is 7-1. In the two games against the Raiders last season, Mahomes had 664 passing yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
"[L]ook, he's going to make some plays. That's not going to be a mystery," McDaniels said of Mahomes. "There's going to be some things that he does in the game, he's a great player. I think that when you play a great player in any sport, they're going to produce some moments like that during the course of the game."
"I think the biggest thing is you just have to try to be consistent and disciplined in your approach," continued McDaniels, speaking on trying to limit Mahomes. "If you can keep playing and have the right idea and make it as hard as you can on him. I think everybody tries to do that. Some may have more success than others, but you're not going to stop this guy from doing some really good things for their team. That's just the nature of the sport, and he's that kind of player. So, just make it as tough as we can on him. That's what we're going to try to do."
Mahomes has been vocal about what he expects from the Raiders this Monday. The former MVP is aware this divisional game will be "a dogfight" and respects the rivalry between the two counterparts.
"You know it's going to be a battle every single time," said the Chiefs QB. "It's going to be both teams trying to play their best football. It's a true rivalry. Doesn't matter what the records are, you're going to go out there and play."
6) "The Slot Machine" is plugged back in
Things seem to be trending upward for Hunter Renfrow to return to action Monday.
After missing two games for the first time since his rookie season, he logged his second straight practice Friday as a full participant. The slot receiver, who was working through concussion protocol, accumulated 163 receiving yards on 20 catches with two touchdowns in the Raiders' two games against the Chiefs last season.
"I can't say enough good things about [the Raiders training staff]," Renfrow said of recovering from the concussion. "Nobody was pushing was me, nobody was pressuring me. We understand how serious it is, and how we learn more about it, the long-term effects."
As the Raiders head to Kansas City for their Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs, view photos from their past matchups.