Chiefs Will Turn to Third-Stringer to Protect Patrick Mahomes vs. Raiders

Patrick Mahomes, Maxx Crosby

Getty Las Vegas Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby fights to get to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

It’s Vegas week for the Kansas City Chiefs as Andy Reid’s team will travel to the Entertainment Capital of the World in search of victory number six, which would be the third straight after wins over the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

The defense has really stepped up the past two weeks, holding the opposition to an average of 12 points per game. Having said that, Patrick Mahomes and this offense have continued to slump with only 12 points per game in their past three outings.

The Chiefs and Raiders split road wins in 2020 and neither game was low-scoring. Las Vegas dropped 40 on KC in a 40-32 victory before falling to them 35-31 in the rematch. Their 5-3 record is currently a half-game better than the Chiefs for first in the AFC West and a large part of that has been their improved defense, which ranks 10th in the NFL in yards allowed per game.

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Chiefs Suffer Potential Setback on Offense

The Chiefs may need all the help they can get on the offensive side with the way this unit has looked in recent weeks and on November 12, the opposite occurred. According to Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star, “Mike Remmers and Lucas Niang are out Sunday, so it’ll likely be Andrew Wylie at RT in Vegas.”

For those who don’t know the depth offensive lineman, Wylie, he bounced around a few organizations before joining Kansas City’s practice squad in 2017 and has not looked back since. From 2018-2021, the versatile piece has served as a cog in this unit and actually started 35 games at guard over that span.

This year he’s received 56 offensive snaps along with 15 on special teams. Pro Football Focus has not been kind to him when he’s played, grading him as a 50.3 overall (64.1 run-blocking, 41.0 in pass protection).

The final injury report confirmed that both Remmers and Niang are officially out for Week 10.

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Raiders Pass-Rushers Present Scary Matchup

Remmers has stabilized the right side a bit after Niang struggled as a pass-blocker early on with 21 quarterback pressures allowed but without both, Mahomes might be in trouble. There’s a strong chance Wylie’s a total liability on Sunday, as a natural guard who has not yet mastered the edge.

The Raiders also excel at rushing the QB, ranking fifth in the NFL in pressure percentage (27.3%) and first in QB knockdown percentage (13.1%). They do all of that behind a standard four-man rush most of the time, blitzing a league-low 13.5%.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby generally lines up against the right tackle position with Yannick Ngakoue rushing the blindside. Here he is spinning inside off a block against Miami — clip from Austin Gayle.

Crosby has 5.0 sacks and 22 official QB pressures according to Pro Football Reference this season, although PFF has credited him with way more. The NFL grading site awarded the Raiders edge rusher with an elite pass-rushing score of 91.9 in 2021 (involved in 50 QB pressures).

He’s scary fast and dangerously technical. Against a veteran like Remmers, Crosby would have been a concern. Against a third-stringer like Wylie, he could turn into a game-wrecker if the coaches don’t figure out a way to slow him down.


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