National Football League

Published Feb. 20, 2024 3:05 p.m. ET

Antonio Pierce has the Las Vegas Raiders bullish about what’s to come, but they still have to get through Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who reside in their division and have now won three of the past five Super Bowls.

In Pierce’s mind, the way the Raiders can match the Chiefs is with physicality and by getting their hands on Mahomes — similar to the way a former NBA powerhouse did against the best player in the sport.

“We’ve got the Jordan Rules, and we’ve got what I’m calling now, from now on as long as I’m here, the Patrick Mahomes Rules,” Pierce said on “The Rush with Maxx Crosby” podcast about how he motivated his team before its Christmas Day win over Kansas City. “You remember when Jordan was going through it with the Pistons, all those guys in the ’80s before he became Michael Jordan, Air Jordan? The Pistons used to whip his ass. Any time he came to the hole, elbows, feeling him, love taps. We touched him. We’re in his head — mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I’m touching you.

“So I showed my guys Jordan getting his ass whooped.”

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Las Vegas beat Kansas City 20-14 on its home turf on Christmas. Earlier in the season, the Raiders got out to a 14-0 lead against the Chiefs but went on to lose 31-17.

While the Raiders’ impressive win against their AFC West rival has served as a mental springboard for the franchise, the Chiefs have overwhelmingly had Las Vegas’ number of late. In fact, the Chiefs have won 18 of the past 21 matchups, dating back to Alex Smith’s first season at quarterback for them — which was also one year before Derek Carr entered the league with the Raiders.

“We’ve got to knock off the head of the snake,” Pierce said. “Fifteen. Hate the color red. There’s a hatred for the Chiefs.”

All in all, the Raiders went 5-4 with Pierce as interim head coach last season. Prior to joining Las Vegas as a linebackers coach in 2022, Pierce was an assistant coach and eventual defensive coordinator at Arizona State from 2018-21.

The Raiders fired offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi last November and hired former Chicago Bears OC Luke Getsy after Kliff Kingsbury backed out of the job. Getsy recently spoke highly of quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who started 10 games as a rookie for Las Vegas last season.

The Raiders have roughly $40 million in cap space this offseason and own the No. 13 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Can any AFC team challenge the KC Chiefs next season?

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