The Chiefs remain in the spotlight on Monday night as they prepare to face one of their long-time AFC West rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders, for the 126th time in team history.
Kansas City has emerged victorious in 15 of the last 18 meetings between these two classic franchises, but despite that recent run of success, "Raider Week" is always a fight that shouldn't be taken lightly.
"You know it's going to be a battle every single time," said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. "Both teams are going to play their best football – it's a true rivalry. We know that it doesn't matter what the records are. When we go out there to play, it's going to be a dog fight."
The Chiefs enter Monday's game following a major bounce-back performance in last week's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kansas City is also already 1-0 in the AFC West this season, securing an exciting win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. The Raiders are coming off a divisional victory themselves, however, as they defeated the Denver Broncos last week for their first win of the season.
"They have a great team," Mahomes said. "Even though they don't have the best record, they've been in every game and were even leading [the games they lost] at certain points. We understand that it's going to be a great challenge for us. Especially, with it being Monday night at Arrowhead, we want to go out there and find a way to win."
Mahomes is 8-1 vs. the Raiders in his career, dropping his lone contest to Las Vegas back in 2020. In fact, since 2018, the Chiefs are 21-4 against AFC West opponents, which is the best mark for any team against their own division in that span. Mahomes has thrown 52 touchdowns in his 25 career divisional contests, leading the Chiefs to victory in all but three of those games.
The Raiders, meanwhile, are under new leadership in the form of Head Coach Josh McDaniels, and while their record may not reflect it, they've been competitive in each of their games. All three of Las Vegas' losses, for example, were by a combined 13 points.
"We understand that the Raiders are a good team, and the losses they've had were in one-score games," Head Coach Andy Reid said. "We understand that they were up by 20 points in the second half against Arizona [before falling behind]. We've got to have a good week of practice, and anything less than that is not acceptable."
Reid has led the Chiefs to an average of 32.7 points-per-game against the Raiders during his career in Kansas City, topping the 30-point mark in seven of the last eight matchups between the two teams. Monday's game also comes on the heels of the Chiefs' best offensive performance of the season against Tampa Bay, which saw Kansas City score more points in one game (41) than the Buccaneers had previously allowed all season (28). One of the catalysts behind that output was a Chiefs' rushing attack that racked up 189 yards on the ground.
"Whenever you have a balanced offense, I think it's hard for defenses to predict what you're doing," Mahomes said. "I think you've seen that whenever we run the ball well, defenses have to start coming up a little bit, and whenever they do, we've been able to execute. Either way, you have to be balanced, and when the defense tries to take [either the run or pass] away, we have the other."
Mahomes has also been sure to spread the football around in the passing game, finding eight different pass-catchers in last Sunday's contest. Additionally, four different players scored a touchdown in that game.
And now, with three road trips in four weeks in the books, Mahomes is eager to maintain the Chiefs' strong start to the season within the confines of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night.
"I'm excited to be back in front of Chiefs Kingdom. They brought it in that first game, and I know they're going to bring it on Monday night," Mahomes said. "I'm ready to be back home."