CHIEFS: ONTO THE RAIDERS By Frank Rodela
The good thing about a loss on a short week is we can move onto the next contest that much quicker. I will say this about the loss before looking ahead to Thursday; The Steelers have our number and will most likely be around come playoff time, so unless the Chiefs want to be thwarted by the Three B’s again, they better figure something out. With that said, we are onto the Raiders.
First, let me say this is a game many had circled on their calendar to be a meeting of top records, and a preview for the AFC West crown. Coming into the season, both teams were touted as one of the best in the league coming off big seasons in 2016 that went to the wire to decide the division. This is not the case as the Raiders are on a skid through the last 4 games, which may make them a dangerous team to play. While the Raiders have not played great football so far, we know they are a capable team that will be fueled by hatred.
On Thursday, the Chiefs will look to continue their 12 game AFC West win streak, dating back to week 2 of the 2015 season, against the Raiders who have lost 5 in row in the series. Coming into the game, the Chiefs are leading the division, and the conference, at 5-1, while the Raiders have skidded to 2-4 after a 2-0 start. Make no mistake, this Raiders team has more talent that their record would suggest; A top paid o-line who, last season, were among the best in the league. A young QB who has shown potential to be one of the best in league, though he is dealing with injury right now and showed as much this past weekend. A group of talented WR’s who are looking to Carr to get their season jump started. The reigning DPOY, who has been in the mix for the award all 3 years since he has entered the league. Add in newly acquired, 4 time All-Pro 29 year old LB NaVorro Bowman, who may or may not see time Thursday. Just to name a few.
What do the Raiders do well? Not a whole lot on offense so far this season. Ranked 30th in offensive yards, 27th in passing yards and 24th in rushing yards. This is good news for the Chiefs, who are at the bottom of the league in yardage allowed to both the pass, and the run ranked 7th and 6th worst. Averaging 20.7 points per game, the Raiders come in at 18th in the league while the Chiefs are the 13th in points allowed with 21.7. About the best thing the Raiders do is not allowing sacks, only 13 have been allowed to this point with 16 QB hits. The Chiefs, who have been at the top of the league in sacks coming into the year, only have 15 on the season, good for a tie at 12th in the NFL.
After a lackluster performance in week 6, the Chief’s offense has a primed matchup to recover on Thursday. The secondary for the Raiders has been atrocious this season, allowing the 10th most yards per game to opposing passers. Smith and Co. are 7th in the league in passing yardage. This is an area I like a lot to be exploited tomorrow night. Though the passing game will probably rely on the run game to get started, which is another plus in favor of the Chiefs, who average 134 yards per game on the ground. The Raiders allow 117.2, while the signing of Bowman will likely better that number, I don’t expect it to happen 2 days after joining the team.
I know the numbers only tell part of the story when it comes to NFL teams and predicting games, but through the eye test, if the team that played the first three quarters against the Steelers stays home, I like this game to be an early run-away for the Chiefs. Come midnight Thursday night, when I turn the game off and head to bed, any talk of a Chiefs skid should be over and done with. The winning streak in the division, and against the Raiders, will continue and we can get back to our regularly scheduled knit picking of the Chiefs as they make their way to a second consecutive division championship, and a long run in the post season.
What do you think, will the Chiefs return to their weeks 1-5 ways, or did the Steelers loss grease them up for a 2 game, or more, slide? We will know by the end of tomorrow night, in the meantime, what is going to lose, or win, this game for our KANSAS CITY CHIEFS?
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