The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL this season, while the Oakland Raiders are one of the worst squads the league has to offer.
In this game, Kansas City has a gigantic spread to try and cover, while the Raiders may just be hoping to avoid embarrassment more than anything else as they look to wind their season down as gracefully as a team that bad can hope for.
Nobody has moved the ball quite like the Chiefs this season, as their 7.0 yards per play average is the best in the NFL this season. Only the Saints are putting up more points this year, with the Chiefs sitting in second in scoring average at 36.7 points per game. But against a team like the Raiders, one has to wonder how motivated the Chiefs will be to run up their margin of victory.
The Chiefs are tied for fifth in rushing average this season, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Kansas City should be in the lead a lot in this game, which should mean a steady diet of Kareem Hunt against a team that doesn’t do a very good job of stopping anyone, let alone rushing attacks this talented.
But the strength of the Chiefs’ offensive juggernaut is its passing game, which is the only one to be averaging 9.0 yards per attempt for the season. Patrick Mahomes has possibly the strongest arm in the league, and combining that with one of the fastest receivers in the league in Tyreek Hill has proven to be completely unfair. This passing attack is something out of a video game, only in real life, and is one of the great joys of watching the NFL right now.
On defense, the Chiefs are tied for 22nd in the league with 6.0 yards allowed per play. This hasn’t been a problem yet, as the team has been so good on offense, but could be a factor later in the season and could cost them a cover in this game if the Raiders are able to rack up easy yards and points against a porous defense.
Andy Reid’s team has struggled against the run on the year, giving up a 29th-best 5.0 yards per carry on the season. Marshawn Lynch is out of action for the Raiders, but the Chiefs will still need to stand tall against the run if they want to avoid being on upset alert in this game.
To their credit, the Chiefs have been decent against the pass, allowing 7.0 yards per pass attempt. That number is good for a tie for 14th in the league. If the Chiefs can build a lead, the Raiders will be forced to pass often, which feeds into the strength of the Kansas City defense.
Raiders Week 13 Outlook
The Oakland Raiders are averaging 5.4 yards per play this season, good for a tie for 22nd in the league through 12 games. But Oakland’s scoring average of 17.0 points per game is the 30th best in the league, with only the Cardinals and Bills scoring less this season. Forget bringing a knife to a gun fight, as bringing the Raiders offense into a battle against the Chiefs offense is a mismatch that defies all comparison.
Their running game has produced 4.2 yards per carry, putting them in a tie for 20th in the NFL. Kansas City’s weakness on defense is its run defense, which means that the Raiders will have to find a way to get themselves going with Doug Martin. Martin has averaged 4.4 yards per carry this season, which is okay, but certainly not elite level production from someone who was meant to be a second option to Marshawn Lynch.
Jon Gruden’s guys are tied for 19th in passing offense, averaging 6.8 yards per attempt through the air. Derek Carr seems to have really regressed under Gruden, and the decline in wide receiver quality around him definitely hasn’t helped that. But the Chiefs can give up yards and points in bunches, as they showed against the Rams a couple of weeks ago, and the Raiders need to take advantage.
On defense, the Raiders are dead last, allowing 6.5 yards per play to opposing offenses. This is a David vs. Goliath matchup between the amazing Chiefs offense and Raiders poor defense. In fact, Raiders defenders should be allowed to use slingshots to try and slow the Chiefs down in this game.
Against the run, the Raiders have allowed 4.9 yards per carry, putting them in a tie for 27th in the NFL. They can expect a steady diet of Kareem Hunt here. But Oakland’s biggest weakness defensively is against the pass, where they allow 8.6 yards per attempt, which is also dead last in the league, against the number one ranked Chiefs passing attack. Good luck with that.
Chiefs vs. Raiders Trends
Kansas City comes into this rivalry game at 9-2 straight up on the season and 8-2-1 against the spread. In their last 16 games, the Chiefs have gone 12-3-1 against the spread. They have covered the number in seven out of their last eight games against AFC opponents as well, and are 21-8 against the spread in their last 29 games against fellow members of the AFC West.
The Raiders have gone just 2-9 straight up this year, and are only 3-8 against the spread as well. They have gone just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games. And home hasn’t felt like home for the Raiders, as they have gone just 1-5-1 against the number in their last seven outings on their home field. Of course, when you are ditching home for Las Vegas, the current home field probably only feels like a temporary home anyway.
It’s far from the sharpest pick out there, but the Chiefs are strongest in all of the areas that the Raiders are weakest. Arizona managed to cover a big number against the Chiefs with their defense, but there is no defense to be found in Oakland right now.