Prior to their 2023 bye week, the Las Vegas Raiders had two huge AFC games ahead of them. After creeping back to .500 thanks to back-to-back wins, the Raiders had to go on the road and take on the Miami Dolphins before a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the end, the Raiders lost to both the Dolphins and Chiefs, falling to 5-7 heading into the bye week. With time to wait until a home matchup with Minnesota, you would think the Raiders would have come out on fire in their Week 14 battle against the Vikings at home.
Instead, they had a clunker of a game, losing 3-0 to the Vikings, and severely damaging any chance they had to make the playoffs this season. However, they bounced back in a big way against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15, winning 63-21 on Thursday night, and suddenly, the Christmas Day matchup against the Chiefs has some meaning.
In order to beat Patrick Mahomes and company, the Raiders will have to find a way to take advantage of the extended time off this time around.
Raiders have a chance to closer to a playoff berth Christmas Day
Beating the Chiefs on the road has proven almost impossible for the Raiders in the past, but the Silver and Black seem to be a team on a mission after losing 3-0 to the Vikings. The defense as a whole was outstanding on Thursday night, flying all over the field, and quarterback Aidan O'Connell finally started taking some shots downfield.
We also saw some growth from Bo Hardegree as offensive coordinator, as he showcased working in all the Raiders weapons in their thumping of the Chargers. Playing without two starting offensive linemen, and Josh Jacobs, the Raiders offense did not skip a beat, and they will need all their playmakers back on Christmas Day to keep the good times rolling.
The biggest thing, however, is the play of the defense, as they will need to put together a near-perfect effort to beat Mahomes in Week 16. If they can somehow come away with the victory, you have to think the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos will have a bit more fear going up against the Silver and Black in the final two weeks.