The Las Vegas Raiders still have a slim chance to reach the playoffs despite not sitting atop of the NFL power rankings, but they are going to have to have some help and pull off something they haven’t done in a long time.
On Christmas Day, the Raiders will attempt to get over two major hurdles.
The first? They They lost the previous two Christmas Day matchups, one to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004 and the other to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017
Beyond their diminished playoff hopes, the Raiders are also just desperate to knock off their arch rivals, but Kansas City has beaten Las Vegas in six straight meetings after a 31-17 victory at Allegiant Stadium in Week 12. That’s the longest losing streak in the rivalry since 2003-2007 when the Chiefs beat the Raiders nine straight times. Included in that run was the 2004 game on Christmas at Arrowhead that saw the Chiefs kick a game-winning field goal inside the final minute to win 31-30.
Raiders Won’t Have Josh Jacobs For Chiefs Game
The Las Vegas Sun noted one of the biggest advantages the Raiders had coming into today’s matchup was star running back Josh Jacobs vs. the Chiefs defense.
Unfortunately according to NFL Insider Tom Pelissero, Jacobs won’t be active against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here’s what the Sun said about Jacobs:
Three of the Raiders’ six losses to the Chiefs since moving to Las Vegas have been competitive, and there’s been a common thread in all those games: Kansas City has gotten gashed by Jacobs.
The All-Pro running back is often regarded as a Denver Bronco killer, even jokingly by himself, but he’s been just as effective against Kansas City recently. Las Vegas took a 14-0 lead on Kansas City last month, which was reminiscent of last year’s early 17-0 edge at Arrowhead. Jacobs spurred both early onslaughts with big plays and scores, including a 63-yard touchdown run on the Raiders’ third drive earlier this year.
The Chiefs held Jacobs more in check from there, but he still finished with 24 touches for 125 yards. The last time at Arrowhead, Jacobs banked 26 touches for 193 yards. Las Vegas will beat Kansas City eventually if Jacobs keeps posting statistical lines that look like those two, and he might be well set up to do so today. Jacobs should be fresh after missing his first game of the past two years against the Chargers. He suffered a quad injury in a 3-0 loss to the Vikings two games ago, but it’s considered minor, and he was almost cleared to return against the Chargers. Las Vegas could continue to rotate in Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah against the Chiefs, but interim coach Antonio Pierce has declared it’s still primarily “the Josh Jacobs Show.”
Jacobs Absence Massive Blow To Raiders
With rookie Aidan O’Connell now under center as the starter for the Raiders, Jacobs value to the offense can’t be understated.
He’s rushed for 805 yards and six touchdowns this season so far, but has also served as a security blanket for O’Connell and the Raiders offense as a receiver for check downs and designed passing plays to get the ball in his hands.
In their last meeting on Nov. 26, Jacobs rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, averaging more than five yards per carry.
CBS Sports believes the Chiefs will come away with another win over the Las Vegas Raiders and extend their streak.
“The Chiefs got back on track last week against the Patriots and now can push to get the top seed. They beat the Raiders earlier this year on the road, but the Raiders are a better defense now. The Chiefs win it, but it’s close,” CBS Sports Senior NFL Analyst Pete Prisco on why the Chiefs will get past Las Vegas, but only by a field goal.