The end of the 2022 season is nearing for the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Kansas City Chiefs arrive to Allegiant Stadium this Saturday for the two teams' regular-season finale. The Raiders look different than they did Week 5, where the Chiefs picked up a one-point victory at Arrowhead Stadium, with several injuries on the defensive side of the ball and a few changes on the offensive side as well.
Read through for a trio of key matchups in the Week 18 showdown in the desert.
Maxx Crosby vs. Patrick Mahomes
Star edge rusher Maxx Crosby has a good track record against Patrick Mahomes.
In Crosby's seven games against Mahomes in his career, he's sacked the Chiefs QB three times with eight quarterback hits. Last time the two faced off in Week 5, Crosby recorded two sacks, two quarterback hits and three tackles for loss.
However, Crosby's outstanding performance didn't prevent Mahomes from getting the W. The sixth-year quarterback led his team from a 17-point first half deficit to win the game 30-29. Mahomes finished with 292 passing yards and four touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce. Mahomes has surpassed 5,000 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns this season, making him the second quarterback in league history to hit those marks in multiple seasons.
Like most offenses this year, the Chiefs will likely throw the kitchen sink at Crosby. The 2023 Pro Bowler currently ranks top 10 in the NFL in sacks, tackles for loss, forced fumbles and quarterback hits.
Davante Adams vs. Chiefs secondary
Davante Adams, for lack of better words, had a day against the Chiefs defense in Week 5.
While the All-Pro receiver ended the game with only three catches, two of those catches were 48 and 58-yard touchdown grabs. That Week 5 game was Adams' first game with multiple touchdowns this season, adding four more to his belt since. And last week, he's became the Raiders new record holder for most receiving yards in a single-season (1,443).
"It doesn't surprise me. It's an incredible achievement," said Head Coach Josh McDaniels on Adams breaking the record. "I mean, he hasn't missed a practice, like literally very few reps the entire year. So, to put in that kind of work and that kind of effort and that kind of dedication to his craft when he's already achieved whatever he's achieved prior to being here, I think that just speaks to how incredible the person is. And he's been that way every day that we've been with him."
The Chiefs defense has surrendered the most passing touchdowns through 16 games and the fifth-most passes completed. Things may look promising for Adams at Allegiant Stadium, considering he connected with Jarrett Stidham on seven catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers on New Year's Day.
The Raiders vs. the second half
The Silver and Black has proven they can compete with anyone this season. Unfortunately, that hasn't resulted into as many wins as they might've hoped for.
This team has no problem coming out of the gate running, with the fifth-highest scoring percentage (42.9) in the league. However, they've been outscored 113-32 in the second half and overtime of their five losses in which they held halftime leads.
The reality for the Raiders is that closing games has been their most crucial deficiency this season. Their main focus Saturday must be playing hard, smart football until the very end.
Get an exclusive look at the gameday entertainment from the Raiders' Week 17 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium.