Focus on Chiefs: Can Raiders solve Andy Reid’s post-bye week magic?

At its core, football is a game of exploiting advantages. And we’re about to experience one of greatest mismatches the NFL has seen over the past 20 years: Coaching savant Andy Reid operating with an extra week of game preparation.

Reid’s teams have been tough enough to beat under normal circumstances, but it’s been nearly impossible to beat them following their bye week. The Chiefs coach, a master of manipulating and tweaking his vast playbook during the extra time, has won all but three of the 21 games his teams played immediately after their bye.

Two of those post-bye losses during Reid’s 22-year career came against teams that were unbeaten.

Toss in his 5-2 postseason record after a week off — including a Super Bowl win over the 49ers — and you understand Reid’s been playing with a near unbeatable hand.

Asked to explain how he’s been able to win 86 percent of those games, Reid wouldn’t provide much of an answer.

“I would say that I have good coaches and good players, and I think that’s probably it,” Reid said at the end of last season. “I don’t know why that has happened. It’s just one of those things, I think.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes thinks there’s another reason for their rejuvenated play. Reid does a good job of making sure they get plenty of rest.

“That’s something he’s really mastered throughout the years,” Mahomes said. “He’s got a good feel for it and (he) understands how to make sure our heads are still in the game.”

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Whatever it is, it’s not a reassuring trend for the Raiders, who host Reid’s Chiefs Sunday and are growing accustomed to drawing the tough post-bye assignment against Kansas City. This will mark the fourth time in the last five seasons the Raiders will play the Chiefs after their bye.

“I’m sure that’s just a coincidence … you know, I’m sure that’s a coincidence,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said, while using a dramatic pause Monday to allow his sarcasm to come through loud and clear. “I don’t know. I don’t think about it. The schedule is the schedule. You have to adapt to it and that’s what we’ll do.”

Conspiracies aside, Gruden is keenly aware of the damage Reid can do with longer study periods. The Chiefs scored 40 points in each of their last two years while handing the Raiders some post-bye blues.

The Raiders, though, will share at least one characteristic of nearly all of the last 10 teams to face Reid after a bye — they’re winners. Only Gruden’s 2018 squad and the 2017 Giants had losing records when facing the Chiefs the past decade. And, having extra time to prepare for good teams has certainly paid off for Reid.

“His preparation is legendary,” Gruden said. “I know he’s going to do thorough preparation.”

One film featured on Reid’s watch list this past week was the footage from the Chiefs’ surprising Week 5 loss to the Raiders, who stunned his team 40-32 in Kansas City.

Reid has also been known for spending his “week …read more

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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