FBG says: Great matchup. Kansas City's passing offense did not skip a beat in the week one of the 2019 season. Patrick Mahomes accumulated 378 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions during the team's 40-26 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tyreek Hill, however, left the opener early due to a shoulder injury that will keep him out of this game. In his place, rookie speedster Mecole Hardman will likely assume the role of the team's primary deep-threat. Hardman, a second-round pick out of Georgia, played a Hill-like role throughout his preseason action. Expecting Hill-like production out of the rookie, however, is ill-advised. Hardman will be a threat every time he steps on the field, but his volume will likely pale in comparison to that of a healthy Tyreek Hill. Elsewhere, Sammy Watkins erupted for 9 catches, 198 yards, and 3 scores in week one without Hill. Watkins is the most-talented active wide receiver on the roster, and the former first-round pick will have ample opportunity to produce as Mahomes' number-one wide receiver. At tight end, Travis Kelce remains one of the NFL's best aerial threats. In week one, Kelce hauled in 3 out of 8 targets for 88 yards, and just missed a touchdown on an overthrown no-look pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In the absence of Tyreek Hill, Kelce's already hefty workload will likely increase. The consolidation of targets within the Chiefs' best pass-catchers may benefit Kelce more than any other player in this offense. Kansas City's offensive line did an incredible job of protecting the quarterback in the season opener, as Patrick Mahomes was not sacked a single time. The bruisers up front are expected to be a strength for Kansas City all season, and they lived up to the hype to open the year. The Chiefs' passing attack is set up to be one of the league's best once again in 2019. While the loss of Tyreek Hill for the near-future will hurt, Kansas City possesses the requisite playmakers elsewhere in the passing game to continue to light up scoreboards.
While the Oakland Raiders held Joe Flacco and the Broncos to just one passing touchdown in week one, it was a miserable night for Oakland's pass defense. The issues start in the secondary, where the Raiders presumably lost Gareon Conley for the near-future to a scary head/neck injury. Rookie Trayvon Mullen filled in for Conley following the injury and was targeted on nearly one-third of his coverage snaps, including Emmanuel Sanders' touchdown. Elsewhere in the secondary, there truly was no bright spot, and the seemingly strong performance is primarily due to Denver's ineptitude in the red zone. Oakland was able to generate timely pressure on Joe Flacco throughout the night, in large part thanks to a shockingly-strong performance from backup defensive end Benson Mayowa. Mayowa pressured Flacco on one-fifth of his pass rushes on the night, a nearly unmatched level of pass-rushing efficiency. Oakland's defensive line is talented but inexperienced. The Raiders have used 5 selections over the last 2 drafts on their defensive line. This investment has yet to bear fruit, and it will likely take some time before it does. Oakland's defense struggled to contain Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders in week one but was not punished for their mistakes. The Raiders' pass defense will have its ineptitude exposed by more efficient passing offenses, especially those in the upper-echelon of the modern NFL like Kansas City.