Yesterday, The 33rd Team discussed five winners from Week 10 and what led to each victory. Today, we will be focusing on the other side, analyzing a few of this week’s losers and where they went wrong.
Kansas City Chiefs 41 – Las Vegas Raiders 14
Raiders Key Stat: 0.558 EPA per Pass Play Allowed
The Raiders pass defense didn’t pose even a slight challenge for the Chiefs offense, as Patrick Mahomes completed 36 of 51 passes for 422 yards and 5 TDs through the air. By EPA per passing play, this ranks in as the 12th best passing week of the season, not a winning strategy for the defense that allows that. The success of their passing attack allowed the Chiefs to sustain their drives and make the most out of them, accumulating 29 first downs and only punting once, the first drive of the game. The Raiders will have to improve their pass coverage going forward to have a chance in their upcoming games.
Minnesota Vikings 27 – Los Angeles Chargers 20
Chargers Key Stat: 4.8 Yards per Pass
In a pretty surprising and impressive win for Minnesota, the Vikings defense controlled Justin Herbert and the Chargers passing attack. Keenan Allen had a good game, with 8 receptions for 98 yards, but the rest of the Chargers’ weapons combined for just 97 yards on 12 catches. This was a very disappointing follow-up to an incredible passing performance a week ago from Herbert and the Chargers that won him AFC Offensive Player of the Week. With much tougher matchups against Pittsburgh and Denver over the next two weeks, Herbert will have to be much sharper if they are to see better results.
Miami Dolphins 22 – Baltimore Ravens 10
Ravens Key Stat: 2/14 on 3rd Down Conversions
An ugly Thursday Night Football game was what we expected and what we got, but the game itself was shocking. The Dolphins pulled off an upset that nobody seemed to be predicting, and it wasn’t all that close. The Ravens had two early field goal attempts and then struggled to move the ball until the very end of the game, punting 8 times in 10 possessions, with the exceptions being the end of the first half and a fumble that Miami returned for a TD. This was a horrible performance by the offense, who had no answer for the Dolphins’ blitzes; the Dolphins’ starting safeties blitzed 38 times in the game between the two of them. This is a defensive strategy that the Ravens will have to formulate an answer to, as you better believe that defensive coordinators were watching and will be implementing that into their own defensive strategies against Baltimore.
Green Bay Packers 17 – Seattle Seahawks 0
Seahawks Key Stat: 4.0 Yards per Pass Attempt
Russell Wilson returned from injury this week but looked incredibly unprepared to be back in a bad performance. He completed exactly half of his 40 pass attempts for a measly 161 yards with 2 interceptions. The Packers’ cornerbacks were exceptional, allowing just 5 completions in 16 targets to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for just 49 yards. Most of the yardage that Wilson was able to get was to tight end Gerald Everett, but even then, it didn’t help much. The Packers’ defense was smothering and incredibly good yet again and has been among the best in football since a disappointing first week. Going forward for the Seahawks, Wilson will need to improve this week in practice before an important and difficult matchup against the Cardinals on Sunday.
Carolina Panthers 34 – Arizona Cardinals 10
Cardinals Key Stat: -0.541 EPA per Passing Play
After their performance in Week 9 made it look like they may not need Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins to keep a productive offense on the field, they fell back to earth hard in this game. Colt McCoy and Chase Streveler combined to go 17/29 for 143 yards with an interception and 4 sacks. The running game struggled to 65 yards on 20 carries. They had just under half the number of yards that a scuffling Panthers offense down to their backup QB managed in a game that was never very close.
Kyler has now missed two weeks and Arizona has to be hoping that the rest has helped and rejuvenated him because they desperately need him to be ready for next Sunday. The offense just doesn’t function the same without him and they won’t want to open the door too much for Los Angeles to take over the division.