The Oakland Raiders’ AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs thrashed the New England Patriots in Foxborough in Week 1, 42-27. What does this mean for Oakland?
Though the Oakland Raiders do not play until late Sunday morning West Coast time, Raider Nation definitely had great intrigue in the first NFL game of the season being played on Thursday night. It featured two teams that Oakland does not care for in the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs and the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
These are two teams that the Raiders will need to presumably beat to get to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis this February. Kansas City is the reigning champion in the AFC West. New England has played in the last six AFC Champion games. Normally, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC runs through Foxborough.
While few would question that the Chiefs and Patriots are two of the best teams in the AFC, who outside of Kansas City would have thought the Chiefs would be victorious Week 1? Kansas City trailed 17-14 at halftime. The Chiefs would go to outscore New England 28-10 in the second half to throttle Patriots, 42-27.
Looking at this outcome from a Raiders’ perspective, we can extract a few things. The first being that Kansas City will be more than a handful to deal with this season. The Chiefs may have lost star safety Eric Berry for the season due to an Achilles’ injury. However, Kansas City might have a new star running back in rookie Kareem Hunt out of Toledo.
After fumbling on his first series as a professional, Hunt would bounce back with 17 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown. He would also find pay dirt two more times as a receiver with five receptions for 98 yards.
This might have been the best game of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith‘s career. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 368 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith averaged 10.5 yards per attempt. It helped being able to find wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a 75-yard touchdown strike. It was actually a relatively quiet night for the Chiefs’ best offensive player in tight end Travis Kelce. He only had five catches for 40 yards.
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For New England, this was a game where the Patriots were absolutely humbled. It was a very boastful evening in Foxborough. This was expected, as the Patriots were celebrating their fifth Super Bowl victory in their home opener. Too bad New England was not competitive in the fourth quarter.
Tom Brady didn’t throw a touchdown in this game. It was all about new running back Mike Gillislee pounding the rock for New England. Injuries are starting to pile up for this team. The Patriots lost slot receiver Julian Edelman for the season due to a torn ACL. On Thursday night, slot receiver Danny Amendola and inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower had to exit the game with injuries.
If this game taught Raider Nation anything, it is that the AFC is more competitive than we thought going into the season. New England should still be a great team, but can be beaten by a worthy adversary at home during a prime-time telecast.
Kansas City looks good, though its defense may not be as formidable as it was last year. The pathway for Oakland to Minneapolis is still arduous, but perhaps a tad more navigable after what we saw last night in Foxborough. Oakland still has to take care of business. The Raiders will play these two teams a combined three times this year. Will they be ready for the challenge?