3 key games to watch in Monday Night Football

It’s finally Kansas City Chefs Week. Raider Nation doesn’t need an explanation of how big the game is this week. Personally, this game is circled every year on my calendar. Being from Kansas City, this is the biggest game of the year. But aside from that, it could be said to be the biggest game of the 2022 season for the Las Vegas Raiders. Falling to 1-4 would destroy the little momentum built after the Denver Broncos game. Going up to 2-3, after two big AFC West wins, would have everyone talking about the Silver and the Black again.

There is talent on both sides of the ball for these two rivals. So the matchups to discuss are honestly endless. Moreover, there are also “offensive masterminds” on both sides, or so they say. The battle between Andy Reid and Josh McDaniels has led to classic chess matches over the years. However, the pawns this time around are quite different. And for a Raiders victory, these key matchups are important to follow.

Raiders Blog: Which clashes will determine how Monday Night Football plays out?

Andrew Wylie and Orlando Brown vs. Maxx Crosby

Soon-to-be dad, Maxx Crosby has been playing at an incredibly high level to start the 2022 season. According to Reference of professional football, Crosby is tied for sixth in the league with four sacks, eight tackles for loss, seven QB hits and has been a threat in the backfield all season. However, the leaders have only abandoned five bags all season. Between solid online play and Mahomes’ ability to do whatever he wants, the Kansas City quarterback is tough to knock down. Being able to rush four while knocking back the other seven players is key to controlling the Chiefs offense. And Crosby has to be the first through the door on the Raiders’ offense. Hopefully Baby Crosby lets his dad play on Monday night.

Justin Reid vs. Darren Waller

Waller struggled to start the season, to say the least. According at PFR, Waller has dropped four assists this season, which doesn’t seem like much at face value. But their timing turned out to be crucial. His ability to open up is still unmatched, but the secondary bosses are looking to make it even harder for Waller to accept him. Chances are Reid will follow Waller throughout the game.

It’s worth noting that the Chiefs passing defense isn’t what it used to be. Title in tonight’s game, they’re ranked 28th in passing touchdowns dropped. Worst of all, they’re 25th in the red zone defense, with 12 touchdowns against them. Waller has a golden opportunity to get him started by dropping a few touchdowns against the Chiefs. Although he wasn’t targeted much, he allowed a 105.8 passer rating, six of 10 completions for 34 yards. Yet two of those six receptions were touchdowns. So Waller could be a heavy target in the red zone. And Raider Nation knows that the Silver and Black also need all the help they can get inside 20.

Raiders O-Line VS Chiefs D-Line

The Raiders finally leaned into the run in their win over the Broncos. In this case, I believe that correlation does not equal causation. However, according to PFR, the Chiefs have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. They are also tied for the fewest rushing attempts against them this season. So if the Raiders want to succeed against the Chiefs, they’ll have to rely on the run. More importantly, their efficiency when running the ball will be essential. Keeping Mahomes on the sidelines will be crucial for success today. If you see a lot of No. 15s on the field, it probably means the Raiders’ running game has been snuffed out.

The Raiders-Chiefs rivalry is one that is retold throughout NFL history. And there is no love lost between the two. However, lately there hasn’t really been a rivalry, with KC seemingly winning every time, by far. McDaniels’ coaching staff must find a way to end the kingdom’s reign of Chiefs. And a huge win at Arrowhead on Monday would be a huge boost in their quest to change the crown.

Gamble Ramble: Bet the Raiders in Week 5 against the Chiefs

*Top photo: Rick Scuteri/AP

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