Sunday November 7, 2010, 4:15 EST PM
Line: Kansas City +3
It’s been a while, but the rivalry between the Chiefs and Raiders is finally restored to it’s fullest.
Both teams are competing for their share of a division title. The Chiefs sit at 5-2, while the Raiders are 4-4. The Raiders have won three of their last four, making them one of the hottest teams in the league right now.
The Raiders would love to go into their bye week after beating their division rival, so this is a huge game for them to showcase their skills against a formidable opponent. There are some rivalries that make sports better. When both teams are competitive, as both teams are, this is one of the best rivalries in all of football.
Keys to the Game
- Darren McFadden is what makes the Raiders go from average to good. Michael Bush filled in nicely while he was injured, but McFadden’s impact on the Raiders has been astounding. McFadden has rushed for 95 yards or more in every full game he has played.
Despite being sidelined with an injury for two full games and part of another, he has still racked up 668 yards this season. He is running the ball at will, but will face a challenge on Sunday, as the Chiefs are stout against the run.
- The Chiefs run defense is much better than their pass defense, so the Raiders may want to come out throwing the ball.
While McFadden is phenomenal, the Raiders have looked decent in the passing game. The Chiefs are likely to load up the box on McFadden, so the Raiders might be best-suited to come out throwing the ball. Jason Campbell has thrown for four touchdowns, zero interceptions and 514 yards in his last two games.
Teams see the run threat and are daring Campbell to throw the ball. Campbell has obliged, leading the Raiders to back-to-back victories while they rely heavily on the pass. If Campbell can continue to take advantage of what defenses are giving him, the Raiders could quickly become one of the most feared offenses in the NFL.
- When it comes to running the football, nobody does it better than Kansas City. At a staggering 190.4 yards a game on the ground, the Chiefs are likely to carve up the Raiders run defense.
Oakland happens to be porous in their run defense, so the three-headed monster in Kansas City should have a field day.
Rolando McClain has made a strong rookie showing, but he isn’t exactly Ray Lewis yet. The Raiders have the talent on defense, but the strength is in their defensive backs. The Chiefs have a stable of running backs that offer up different talents to form the most versatile backfield in football.
The Raiders need to pay special attention to Jamaal Charles, who has the speed to break contain and take any run to the house. Charles ran for 177 yards last week. Oakland better hope he’s still tired.
- The Chiefs are the worst statistical team in football when it comes to throwing the ball. While it may seem as though the Chiefs struggle through the air, nothing could be further from the truth when you dig deeper into the numbers.
Matt Cassel has played out of his mind this season. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and three interceptions, giving him a 90.4 quarterback rating. While he might not be racking up serious yardage, he is winning football games for the Chiefs by being effective in the red zone and commanding error-free football.
He can let the running backs do the dirty work. The Chiefs know where their talent lies, and considering Cassel’s wide receivers, I applaud his leadership, regardless of how many yards he has thrown for this season.
The Raiders and the Chiefs both expect to win this game, and both could make a legitimate case for it for the first time in years. The Raiders are playing fantastic football and the Chiefs continue to impress.
While my mind is screaming Kansas City, there is no way I can pick against the Raiders again. Last week I preached consistency, and they followed it up with a dominant performance over the Seahawks.
Even Darrius Heyward-Bey is getting involved, so you know the Raiders have to be clicking on all cylinders. I’m going with the Silver and Black, though I’m not completely sold on their playoff chances just yet.
Free NFL Pick: Oakland -3