One of the NFL’s historic rivalries will help conclude the NFL’s regular season in Week 17 as the Raiders travel to Kansas City, with the Chiefs jockeying for favourable playoff positioning. Both these squads have taken steps forward this season, and will look to end on high notes. For the Chiefs, they did well to endure the loss of star running back Jamaal Charles, and just keep on mowing down teams. They enter the final week with an outside shot at winning the AFC West, or sitting as the 5th or 6th seed going into next week’s playoffs. Expect the starters for the Chiefs, and for them to be fairly motivated on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Raiders enter with nothing really to play for and nothing to lose. It’s been a step forward for this franchise, with key players on both sides of the ball taking big strides. They’ve developed a young core that Raiders fans can be proud to cheer for, and they’ll look to finish their campaign on a positive note against their hated rivals. Oakland can make the road much tougher for Kansas City, and it’ll be intriguing to see if they can do so! Read on below for your Raiders and Chiefs preview, breakdown, and analysis.
Raiders vs. Chiefs Betting Odds:
Oakland Raiders +7.5 (-115)
@ Kansas City Chiefs -7.5 (-105)
Over 43.5 (-110)
Under 43.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Chiefs Pick:
For all of Kansas City’s success this season, it’s been remarkable how they’ve done it without a very high-octane scoring attack. Alex Smith is the safest quarterback out there, rarely taking shots downfield, and they can occasionally run the ball well to help him out. It’s clear they’ve got great depth at that position with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West sitting pretty behind the injured stud in Jamaal Charles. However, perhaps what is most telling about the Chiefs is their yards gained vs. allowed over the past few weeks. Over the past month, they’ve netted an average of 274 yards per game, while somehow conceding an average of 343.8 yards per game. That’s correct, they’ve been outgained by about 70 yards per game going against teams like the Chargers, Ravens, and Browns. Pretty brutal, stuff. For all of their wins of late, there is a big caveat to them, and it seems like the bubble could burst at any moment for Andy Reid’s squad. For Kansas City to be successful, they need to run the ball effectively. Unfortunately Oakland is quite good at stuffing the ground game. They are 10th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per carry, and last time they played K.C. only managed 66 yards on the ground all game. This will force Alex Smith to take his act to the air, an unfamiliar feeling for the QB. As a result, don’t expect many points on Sunday from the Chiefs. The Raiders will be motivated and hungry to derail the Chiefs’ chances at the division, and should be able to prevent them from moving the chains with regularity.
Back in Week 13, Oakland outgained the Chiefs by a whopping 129 net yards, but lost because of a couple of key picks from Derek Carr. Although the youngster has taken some strides, he does have a tendency to make a few errors each game. Where the Raiders might find the majority of their success is in short dump-off plays or with their smashmouth running game behind Latavius Murray. Murray has played well of late and has to be primed for a big outing in Week 17 after seeing the Browns run all over K.C. last week. Cleveland rushed for 124 yards on the ground from just their running backs alone. If Oakland can duplicate that, they’ve got a legitimate shot at making things very interesting come Sunday.
This is just too many points for a team that really struggles to score consistently. The numbers don’t add up for the Chiefs, and the Raiders could make them pay for that on Sunday. Kansas City knows they’re likely not going to catch the Broncos, and whether they’re the 5th or 6th seed may not matter all that much to them. For Oakland, expect the Raiders to really want to focus on going out on a winning note after a pretty positive season for the black and silver. You can bet they’d also love to make the Chiefs’ playoff route much more difficult with a loss. If Oakland can protect the ball, they’ve got a shot at winning this game on Sunday.
PICK = Raiders +7.5 (-115)