One of the best parts of every sport is a good, old fashioned rivalry. Lakers-Celtics, Yankees-Red Sox, you know that no matter what, these teams are going for the throat when they play each other.
Unfortunately for the Las Vegas Raiders, they have been on the receiving end of some beatings in recent years by their historic rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. This year was no exception, and considering the Chiefs are now playing in the Super Bowl, it hurts even more.
For Raiders owner Mark Davis, he wants his team built to take on the Chiefs. While pinpointing just one team to beat may not always be the best strategy, it very well might work as the Chiefs are locked in as one of the best teams in the NFL.
“Obviously, the Chiefs are the team we haven’t been able to beat in the division lately,” said Davis, whose team is 2-12 against Kansas City since 2013. “It’s one of the reasons we drafted edge rushers (in Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby) last year. We need more of them. We need another guy up the middle against Mahomes. We need linebackers to hold the edge. We need guys who can cover (Chiefs tight end) Travis Kelce and all their speed outside.
“Patrick Mahomes is unlike anyone else — he’s the monster now — and we need to improve all our phases of defense to deal with him.”
The Raiders defense appeared to get better as the season went on in 2019, so maybe Davis is on to something. While Maxx Crosby led the way for the Raiders’ defensive rookies, players like Johnathan Hankins and Lamarcus Joyner provided some much needed veteran presence.
The Raiders are still waiting on young safety Johnathan Abram to hit the scene as well. His rookie campaign was cut short after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in his first and only game.
With another offseason to build their war chest, the Raiders are set to emerge as a defensive force in 2020 if they can add some solid pieces through free agency and the draft. While hopefully they find more success than just beating the Chiefs, Davis and the rest of the Raiders will be closely watching Super Bowl LIV to get a look at their rivals in action.