On Christmas Day, the Las Vegas Raiders will take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, a matchup the Silver and Black have come out on the wrong side of in recent memory. Still, this is a divisional game late in the season, and incredibly, both teams are still technically alive in the AFC Playoff race.
Of course, Kansas City is looking to lock up their tenth straight AFC West title, while the Raiders are on life-support sitting at 6-8. They will have to win out and get a lot of help if they hope to be playing in the playoffs, but a win over the Chiefs in this one would be a statement victory for interim head coach Antonio Pierce.
Here, we look at some key matchups to keep an eye on if the Raiders are to come away with a shocking victory inside Arrowhead Stadium.
Raiders at Chiefs 2023 Week 16: Key matchups to watch
Raiders pass rush vs Patrick Mahomes
The Raiders pass rush is something special, led by Maxx Crosby, who should be a front-runner for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year honor. For the first time in his career, however, Crosby finally has some help, as guys like Tyree Wilson and Malcolm Koonce have stepped up in a big way this season.
Las Vegas is also getting better play at defensive tackle, and they have some dynamic linebackers as well. All in all, this group could have a big day against Patrick Mahomes on Monday, putting pressure on him all game long and possibly forcing some big mistakes.
Davante Adams vs Chiefs Secondary
Davante Adams is the best skill player on the field on Monday, and I believe he is going to go off against the Chiefs secondary. He is only 32 yards away from collecting his second straight 1,000-yard season in the Silver and Black, so you can expect Bo Hardegree to dial up some plays for him early and often in this one.
Adams has been a symbol of consistency his entire NFL career, and at times, has been the only reliable option for the Raiders in the passing game. The Chiefs have some talent on the backend, but Adams should feast against them on Christmas Day.
Patrick Graham vs Andy Reid
While Matt Nagy is the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, the play-calling duties fall on head coach Andy Reid on that side of the ball. Reid is one of the better offensive minds in the game, and he has the talent on that side of the ball to get yardage in chunks no matter the opponent.
That is what makes the chess match between he and Patrick Graham so important on Monday night. We have seen incredible growth from the Raiders defense this season, and they look like a top-10 unit at this point, so if Graham can come up with a good game plan Christmas Day, Las Vegas could come away with the victory.