Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders
Betting Line: Raiders -2.5 o/u 40.5
John J. Raspanti
Is it 1974? The first place Chiefs (5-2) take on the 2nd place Raiders (4-4) in an intriguing AFC matchup. The Raiders have looked very impressive in their last two Games. They destroyed Denver on the road, and then clobbered Seattle at home. Most of their success is tied to the improved play of their defense. Safety Tyvon BraNCh has been playing some inspired football. BraNCh leads the team with 50 tackles and 2 sacks. Michael Huff and outside linebacker Kemerion Wimbley have also been playing well. Wimbley leads the team with 5 sacks followed by Richard SeymOur with 4.
The Raiders as a team are ranked third with 24 sacks. Offensively Oakland has improved every week. Running back Darren McFadden has been awesome GAining over 5 yards a carry. Coach Tom Cable hasn’t made a decision yet on who will start at quarterback but all indicators are pointing to Jason Campbell. The first year Raider has completed 56 percent of his passes with a quarterback rating of 82. Campbell’s mobility could be a key against the hard charging Chiefs.
The Chiefs success is one of the bigger surprises of this year’s campaign. Last week they struggled mightily against the winless Buffalo Bills before prevailing in overtime 13-10. Kansas City gets off the bus running the ball. The dynamic duo of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have already cracked the 1,000 yard mark. Charles averages over 6 yards a carry while Jones patiently works the guards looking for small openings to exploit. The Chiefs philosophy is to run the ball down their opponent’s throats. Quarterback Matt Cassel has completed 58 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. His favorite target is Tony Moeaki who has grabbed 24 balls for 381 yards. Dwayne Bowe has 21 catches but usually does his best work down the field. Defensively the Chiefs are ranked 14th in the league. They give up an average of almost 100 yards on the ground. Linebackers Derrick Johnson, Javon Belcher and Tambi Hall have played very well. Hall leads the team with 7 sacks.
The Chiefs have won seven consecutive Games at Oakland. They might be winning ugly, but they’re winning. The way the Raiders have played the last two Games makes it difficult to pick against them. But we will anyways.
It’s easy to become impressed with the Raiders after back to back blowout wins. But no teams in the NFL are as good or as bad as they have looked in their most recent Games. What’s lacking on both of these teams daNCe cards thus far are opponents with winning records. We’ll learn plenty about these two this week. We’re more impressed with defense than offense in the NFL, and in that reGArd, the Chiefs get the nod.
Other than a 35-31 shootout which they lost, but should have won against the Jags, the Chiefs defense has kept teams in check, iNCluding Philip Rivers Chargers and Peyton Manning’s Colts. Let’s also remember that the Raiders haven’t been lighting up scoreboards all year. They scored 13 on the Titans, 16 on the Rams and just 9 on the 49ers. We think the Raiders come back down to earth a little this week. The oddsmakers think so as well. The total is 40.5. The Chiefs look to be the better team. We’ll take the small number here and will consider buying the half if it reaches +2.5. Chiefs +2.5