Welcome back to another edition of Around the AFC West. Things seem to have righted themselves in Chiefs Kingdom this past weekend as the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills, a team many thought would be (and still consider) a contender.
Before we launch into whether or not Andy Reid is wasting Patrick Mahomes‘ talent by running the ball too much and investing too much in the running back position, let’s look at the rest of the AFC West.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders are coming off their bye week this week with all kinds of hype. They most recently beat the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs and are the new media darling. However, that may all come to an end as they host another media darling in Week 7: Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While I think Brady is overhyped, there is no doubt that their offense is better than what he had in New England—better weapons means he can do more. What is most impressive about the Bucs is their defense. Ranked number one in the league, this is a defense that will get after quarterbacks, which I believe will spell disaster for Derek Carr.
We all know Carr doesn’t handle pressure well, and if you are able to get home, you can rattle him enough to make him make mistakes. I think this will be a “come to Jesus” game for the Raiders where they will realize that beating the Chiefs was the exception, not the rule. The Raiders are certainly on the right track to developing a good team, but they aren’t quite there yet.
The Raiders did not sit idle during the bye week, though. They added former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving to their practice squad. Irving was recently reinstated and intended to retire, but came back and signed with the Raiders. Additionally, the Raiders activated quarterback Marcus Mariota from the reserve/injured list. This will put some depth behind Carr. I do wonder if this might offer an option for Gruden if Carr is struggling. We’ll see how they use him.
Regardless, I’m excited for this matchup. It is a primetime game, in Vegas, and one that will be certain to bring a big crowd.
Game time is 7:25 p.m. on Sunday.