The Oakland Raiders are back home – they’ll stay there for the next two weeks – but the team will now welcome two of the best squads in the AFC to the Oakland-Coliseum in back-to-back contests.
But, before we look too far down the schedule page, let’s worry about Sunday’s matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at the OACC. As it stands now, the Chiefs are among the favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIII, but there’s a bunch of football to be played between now and then.
The Silver and Black will have their collective hands full Sunday, no doubt about that, but I digress; let’s get to those questions.
From Arthur M: Which aspect of the Chiefs offense scares you the most?
EP: Is there an “all of the above” option? I kid, I kid, but let’s be real here, the Chiefs boast one of the top offenses in the NFL, and with their myriad weapons, they’ve given opposing defenses fits all year.
In all seriousness though, we know that the Chiefs can put up points in a hurry – they average 36.7 points per game – and the Raiders will have to find a way to keep them out of the end zone as much as possible if they want to upset their AFC West rivals.
But, to answer your question, as good as Patrick Mahomes has been this year – and dude has been really good – I think Kareem Hunt and the Kansas City rushing attack scare me the most headed into Sunday.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Chiefs average 115.8 YPG on the ground, and on the other side of things, the Raiders are coming off a Week 12 performance where they surrendered 242 rushing yards to the Baltimore Ravens.
The game is won at the line of scrimmage, so hopefully the Raiders can find some success up front, and make things rough for Hunt and Co.
From Sam F: Will Jelly play this weekend?
EP: I’m sure we’ll get a little clarity on that as the week progresses, but if I were a betting man, I’d think that Big Justin Ellis straps on the pad Sunday afternoon.
“Ellis will be up this week, hope to have him available against the Chiefs,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden Monday. “That will help us on the inside running game I do believe.”
The athletic defensive tackle has been a stalwart on the Raiders defensive line since being drafted in 2014, and the Silver and Black have missed the big man immensely thus far in 2018. Jelly’s stats might not be the most eye-popping, but make no mistake about it, No. 78 is a key cog in making the Raiders defense go.
The Raiders may need all the help they can get against an extremely-dynamic Chiefs offense.
From Sal V: Has anything about the past few weeks surprised you?
EP: Hmm, that’s actually a really good question, and I think – in the spirit of full transparency – I’d have to say that I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how well Doug Martin has run since taking over the mantle from Marshawn Lynch.
Martin is averaging an impressive 4.4 YPC, and although he hasn’t gotten the type of run that I’m sure Coach Gruden would like, he’s unquestionably made the most of his opportunities.
When the Raiders have enjoyed success, it’s been in the games the run game has really been rocking, and Martin has played an integral role in that enterprise.
Tip of the cap to Mr. Martin.
From Ben D: How many players are wearing the custom cleats this weekend?
EP: As Ben alluded, this week’s game against the Chiefs is the Silver and Black’s My Cause, My Cleats game, where all the players can wear custom cleats to represent whatever cause they hold dear to them.
This year, 42 Raiders are set to participate, as they’ll represent causes ranging from Childhood Hunger to Breast Cancer Awareness.
Also, this gives me a great chance to bring up once again that the Raiders organization gave all employees a chance to support in their own way come gameday, buying colored Converse shoes to coincide with our cause of choice.
Very cool deal.
Get an exclusive look at the Raiders custom cleats for the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats game to be played on Sunday, December 2, 2018, against the Kansas City Chiefs.