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4 winners and losers from Kansas City Chiefs’ win over Las Vegas Raiders

Kansas City Chiefs

The NFL regular season finale for the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 brought together two AFC West division rivals who entered the game on a different year-end trajectory. The Raiders came into the matchup already eliminated from postseason contention, meaning Las Vegas essentially had nothing to play for.

But the Chiefs only needed a win to secure the top seed and a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs and were coming in with a four-game winning streak in a hostile environment on the road at Allegiant Stadium.

It quickly became clear that the Chiefs would face little difficulty finishing their season on a high note, heading into the postseason riding a five-game winning streak. Despite the schedule delivering a division rivalry matchup, the actual result was much different. The Chiefs are obvious winners in the bigger picture, but who else had a good or bad day on Saturday?

Related: NFL Playoff scenarios: A full look at where things stand in Week 18

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl odds

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ latest win secures them the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Finishing with the best record in the conference at 14-3, it ensures the road to the Super Bowl runs through Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium, giving the Chiefs home-field advantage in each game until the final stage.

Yet, there is one caveat. If either the Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals also reach the AFC Championship game, the matchup will be played at a neutral site. Either way, today’s win places the Chiefs in a strong position to advance.

Kansas City went 7-1 at home this season, which is the best mark in the AFC. Only the Bills, at 6-1, have a chance to match. Yet, with the Chiefs also going 7-2 on the road, it likely doesn’t matter which stadium Patrick Mahomes shows up to.

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

Loser: Jarrett Stidham shows why he’s No. 2

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Last week Jarrett Stidham threw for 365 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. It was an impressive performance for a player who wasn’t expected to receive any playing time this season. While many were upset with how the Derek Carr benching was handled, there was still a strong sense of excitement and curiosity building toward Stidham receiving another chance in a lost season.

Taking on a Chiefs defense that came into the matchup ranked in the middle of the pack (18th) in passing yards allowed, the situation was ripe for Stidham to continue his momentum, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the 26-year-old QB was under constant pressure, getting sacked six times by the Kansas City pass rush.

Stidham finished 22-of-36 with 219 passing yards, a touchdown pass, an interception, and a lost fumble. But he was also the Raiders’ leading rusher, scrambling seven times for 50 yards. Josh Jacobs, the NFL”s leading rusher, was bottled up, receiving 17 carries for 45 yards.

So in some ways, Stidham was one of the best offensive players on the field in Silver and Black, but on a day where they scored just 13 points, it wasn’t close to good enough.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders considering signing Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023

Winner: Patrick Mahomes sets NFL record for yards

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The likely 2022-23 NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes now holds the all-time record for the most yards in a single season. Adding 231 yards on the day, Mahomes surpassed Drew Brees’ previous mark of 5,562. But Mahomes only needed 186 when the game began.

Finishing with 5,608 yards, Mahomes is now the NFL’s all-time leader in yards for one season. Keep in mind, this is not the NFL’s passing record, held by Peyton Manning at 5,477 yards. Mahomes will have to return for more vengeance next season to top that mark. This new record takes into account rushing yards as well as passing yards.

It may feel out of reach, but chances are Mahomes will be back, trying to surpass Manning next. For now, he’ll set his sights on a second Super Bowl ring later this winter.

Related: 2023 NFL mock draft: Colts, Raiders land QBs in Round 1 projection before Week 18

Loser: Las Vegas Raiders defense ends with a thud

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr may take most of the heat in Vegas, but the Raiders’ defense has held the team back all season long. Allowing the eighth-most points per game coming into Week 18, their defensive struggles were no different on Saturday against the Chiefs.

Las Vegas allowed Kansas City to run for 168 yards and three touchdowns, their third-highest total of the season. Most importantly, Mahomes operated from a fairly clean pocket and stayed out of harm’s way while still leading Kansas City to 31 points.

Aside from finding a new quarterback, the Raiders have a lot to fix heading into 2023, and it all starts on defense. In a division featuring Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and a motivated Russell Wilson, the Raiders can’t run it back with this same group in 2023 and expect different results.

Related: Super Bowl odds: Every team’s championship futures for 2022-23 NFL season