Raiders may need to repeat aggressive style to beat Chiefs

Thu Nov 19 5:29pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes as Carolina Panthers defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (97) applies pressure during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


The Las Vegas Raiders needed to alter their style when they finally broke through last month with their first win in Kansas City in eight years.

Derek Carr delivered the most prolific deep passing game of his career, coach Jon Gruden called for two successful fourth-down gambles and a much-maligned defense came up with a couple of key defensive stops to outpace Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Pulling off the season sweep against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (8-1) will be an even taller task for the Raiders (6-3) on Sunday night.

''They're the world champions. You have to do whatever it takes to try and win the game,'' Gruden said. ''That particular day, it just seemed to be a shootout. There's no guarantee we're going to make a first down this time. We'll see how it goes.''

Carr, who has been criticized throughout his career for being too quick to check the ball down, was as aggressive as ever during the 40-32 win in Week 5. His 219 yards passing on deep throws were 79 more than his next biggest game of his seven-year career as he connected on long scoring strikes to Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor, as well as two other deep throws to Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow.

The ultra-aggressive approach appeared to catch the Chiefs by surprise that day as their defensive backs seemed to jump at underneath routes and leave room to operate deep.

''They made some good plays, they came out on fire,'' cornerback Charvarius Ward said. ''They had a good game plan. They had an answer for the things were doing, but this week we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again.''

SHORT-HANDED

The Raiders' defense is playing its best football in years heading into this game, allowing 14.7 points per game and a 68.1 passer rating the past three weeks after forcing five turnovers in a win over Denver last week. Slowing the Chiefs will be much harder, especially since most of the defense missed practice all week on the COVID-19 list.

Starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive early in the week, joining linebacker Cory Littleton on the list. Eight other defensive players were placed on the COVID-19 list as ''high risk'' close contacts, including starters Lamarcus Joyner, Maliek Collins, Johnathan Abram and Johnathan Hankins. Those players could return by Sunday if they keep testing negative, but won't be able to practice all week.

LINE 'EM UP

It remains to be seen who will start on the offensive line for Kansas City with right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and left tackle Eric Fisher joining Martinas Rankin on the COVID-19 list this week. Schwartz also has been out with a back injury.

''I'm just going to take it day by day, but we'll see how that goes, see how they feel and everything else,'' said coach Andy Reid, who did say he'd be willing to play someone who missed an entire week of practice. ''We'll just see how everything works out.''

WIDE OPEN SPACES

The Chiefs also could be without wide receiver Mecole Hardman because of COVID-19, but his absence should be offset by the return of Sammy Watkins. The former first-round pick has been dealing with a hamstring injury since the early part of October, but he returned to practice before the bye and was involved in game prep this week.

''He's someone who is a threat in every way,'' Mahomes said. ''Hopefully he'll be back out there.''

SMASH-MOUTH FOOTBALL

The Raiders have gone to a throwback style during their three-game winning streak, rushing for 190.7 yards per game, while gaining only 138 per game passing. That's the second highest rushing total and second lowest passing total in the league in that span. This is the fifth time in Raiders history they have run for at least 150 yards and passed for fewer than 200 in three straight wins in a season.

''If we have to do that to win, awesome. If we don't, awesome,'' Carr said. ''There have been times against the Chiefs where it's been shootouts. I've done it against Alex (Smith), with Patrick, and there's been games like that. There's also times where the running game is there, so it just really depends. Whatever we have to do to win, that's what I'm ready to do.''

WELL RESTED

For the fourth time in five seasons, the Chiefs will have a bye before playing the Raiders. Kansas City won all four of those contests, part of Reid's 18-3 record in the regular season after a week off. The Raiders haven't had a bye before playing the Chiefs since but then again it might not be an advantage if they did. They are 3-15 following a week off since 2003.

''I'm sure that's just a coincidence,'' Gruden said. ''I don't know. I don't think about it. The schedule is the schedule. You have to adapt to it and that's what we'll do.''

Player Notes
New York Giants Dec 1 9:50pm ET

The New York Giants placed starting outside linebacker Kyle Fackrell (calf) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday with a calf injury. Fackrell will miss at least the next three games, leaving the Giants very short-handed at the position. He was tied for second on the team with three sacks and was playing close to 100 percent of the defensive snaps before suffering the injury in the Week 12 win over the Bengals. No outside linebacker on the active roster has more than one sack this year. Linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are also on IR. Jamaal Sheard and rookies Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown could start in Week 13 against the Seahawks, making the New York defense one to avoid for fantasy managers after they were a popular streaming defense against Cincy.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Dec 1 9:40pm ET

The Denver Broncos activated quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday after all three had PCR tests come back negative on Monday. They will all be eligible to play in Week 13 against the Chiefs. So barring additional team discipline, the Broncos won't be forced to use a practice-squad wide receiver under center against their division rivals. If Lock returns as the starter for this offense, it'll be excellent news for receivers Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler and tight end Noah Fant. Denver will likely be forced to throw often to keep up with the Chiefs high-octane offense, too, but Lock's inconsistency this season keeps him as a low-end QB2. The 24-year-old was 24-for-40 for 254 yards and two interceptions in the first meeting against KC back in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Olamide Zaccheaus Dec 1 9:30pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons placed wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (toe) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday after he left the Week 12 win over the Raiders with a toe injury. In a corresponding move, the team activated receiver Laquon Treadwell from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and added him to the 53-man roster. Zaccheaus popped up for a couple decent games this year, but it his production was inconsistent on a weekly basis and he was too far down the team's receiving depth chart to be a viable fantasy option in most leagues. The second-year wideout's best game came in Week 9 against the Broncos when he had four receptions for 103 yards and his first touchdown of the season. If he doesn't make it back this year, he'll finish with 20 receptions (32 targets) for 274 yards and the one touchdown. Christian Blake and Brandon Powell could see some more playing time as the No. 4 wideout with Zaccheaus out.

From RotoBaller

J.K. Dobbins Dec 1 9:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram II are both eligible to be activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the Week 12 game against the Steelers on Wednesday, but it's not a given that either will play. Both players have been isolated since testing positive for the virus on Nov. 22 and aren't allowed to fly on the team plane on Tuesday night. At this point, if you have Dobbins or Ingram on your roster, you've likely benched them for other running backs that already played in Week 12. Even if they both play, Gus Edwards could see the majority of backfield touches and will be the best fantasy play of the trio. Those that picked up Edwards in order to start him this week are hoping that neither Dobbins nor Ingram suit up in the tough matchup against the undefeated Steelers.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Williams Dec 1 9:10pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens activated defensive tackle Brandon Williams, quarterback Trace McSorley, nickelback Tavon Young and cornerback Khalil Dorsey from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. They could activate more players from the list before kickoff against the Steelers on Wednesday. McSorley should be the backup to Robert Griffin III on Wednesday with Lamar Jackson testing positive for COVID-19 and being unavailable this week. The return of Williams will be good news for Baltimore's defensive line, who will again be without Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell. The Ravens Defense is more of a gamble in DFS and season-long leagues against the undefeated Steelers, but inclement weather is expected and could make things tougher on both offenses.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Dec 1 7:53pm ET

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (ankle) is 'just kind of beat up,' according to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Fantasy Spin: Cook briefly left the Week 12 game against the Carolina Panthers but returned to finish with 83 total yards and 22 touches. He leads the league with 1,385 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns on the season. The Vikings' schedule gets much tougher following the Week 13 home date against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he'll remain a matchup-proof RB1 due to his heavy usage.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Willis Dec 1 7:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones, DE Jordan Willis and practice squad TE Daniel Helm will be activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and practice Thursday, Dec. 3, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Jaylen Watkins Dec 1 7:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers TE Matt Sokol and DB Jaylen Watkins were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Chris Smith Dec 1 7:03pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders LB Vic Beasley, PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving and DE Chris Smith were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Chad Hansen Dec 1 6:53pm ET

Houston Texans WR Chad Hansen, DT Corey Liuget, WR Steven Mitchell Jr. and WR Damion Ratley were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Aldrick Rosas Dec 1 6:53pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Terry Godwin, DB Josh Nurse, DT Caraun Reid and PK Aldrick Rosas were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Rashard Robinson Dec 1 6:33pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DB Deante Burton, OT Jordan Mills, DB Rashard Robinson and OT William Sweet were named protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Troy Fumagalli Dec 1 6:33pm ET

Denver Broncos RB LeVante Bellamy, TE Troy Fumagalli, DB Alijah Holder and LB Josh Watson were made protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Kyle Lauletta Dec 1 6:23pm ET

Cleveland Browns OT Michael Dunn, QB Kyle Lauletta, PK Matthew McCrane and OT Alex Taylor were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Joe Webb Dec 1 6:13pm ET

Free-agent WR Joe Webb (Lions) is visiting the New York Giants Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Bray Dec 1 6:13pm ET

Chicago Bears QB Tyler Bray was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Kevin Hogan Dec 1 6:13pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals QB Kevin Hogan, WR Stanley Morgan, RB Jacques Patrick and TE Mitchell Wilcox were named as protected practice squad players for Week 13 Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Darron Lee Dec 1 6:03pm ET

Buffalo Bills DE Bryan Cox Jr., C Jordan Devey, C Jonotthan Harrison and LB Darron Lee were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 13 on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle

Will Fuller Dec 1 5:53pm ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller and CB Bradley Roby were officially placed on the Reserve/Suspended list Tuesday, Dec. 1. The Texans also activated DT Andrew Brown from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list.

From TheHuddle

D.J. Foster Dec 1 5:53pm ET

Arizona Cardinals TE Seth DeValve, DE Michael Dogbe, RB D.J. Foster and WR A.J. Richardson were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 13 on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

From TheHuddle