Yes, the Raiders are 2-9, and yes the Chiefs have made beating the Raiders at Arrowhead an annual tradition. Still, this game has a different feel to it. The Chiefs have lost three games in a row, and they're just as desperate for a win as the Raiders are. Despite their woes this season, Kansas City can keep pace in the AFC West hunt with a win, but the Raiders are going to be tough to take out.
The Chiefs are in a transitional period at the quarterback position. Brodie Croyle made his first NFL start last week against the Indianapolis Colts, and despite the fact that he's playing rather well, he's still picking up the intricacies of the position. With the right conditions, Croyle can be forced into making a mistake or two today, especially against a nasty Raiders' secondary.
The primary concern for the Chiefs offensively is the running back position. As everyone knows by now, KC's running game is in serious trouble. Starter Larry Johnson is out indefinitely with an injured foot. His backup, comeback king Priest Holmes, retired this week due to an injured neck. The Chiefs will be relying on this year's fifth-round pick, Kolby Smith, who'll be making his first start. That's bad news considering Kansas City's offense was only averaging 77 yards rushing with Johnson and Holmes.
Despite the fact the Raiders are ranked next to last defending the run, this Oakland team as a whole is a little bit better than their 2-9 record would indicate. They're at least good enough to beat this Chiefs squad.
The Raiders have lost some tight games this season, including one heartbreaker on the road in Denver in overtime. Oakland can run the football - they rank sixth in the NFL - and they can defend the pass. They've got the tools and the swagger to beat the Chiefs.
Finally, Arrowhead hasn't been the haven for the Chiefs this season it's been in the past. They've already lost three games at home this year, the most since 2004, when the team lost four, but the Chiefs still have three home games left season.
Kansas City is 14-3 against the Raiders at home since 1990, so playing the percentages, the Raiders are due. The Broncos got their first Arrowhead win in a few years a couple of weeks ago, and eventually, the Raiders are going to break through, too. This is their best shot in a long time.
As an aside, the fans haven't exactly had the Chiefs back this season. Every home game except the Jacksonville game has seen a pretty healthy dose of opposing fans, and increasing no shows as the season progresses. I understand it can be difficult to stick with a losing team, but the Chiefs are still in contention in the AFC West.
I'm sure there are some other fans around the NFL that would love to have their team in the position the Chiefs are. Teams are realizing they can come in and turn this Arrowhead crowd against the offense. That vaunted Arrowhead mystique the Chiefs have enjoyed over the years is starting to show some cracks. The Chiefs and the fans better hope it's not too far gone.
Chiefs In A Bad Spot
WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories
Packers Acquire Davis; Place Shields on IRKnile Davis goes from fourth on the depth chart in Kansas City to a key role with the short-handed Packers. He is big and fast but to this point has failed to put it all together.
Week 6 NFL DFS: DraftKings Secret StarsHave you experienced the fun of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)? We have some recommendations for you if you're interested in participating in contests over at DraftKings. With just a…
Week 6: Four Bewildering BackfieldsEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making.
Three Backfields With Question MarksEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making..…
Week 8: Start 'Em If You Got 'EmThe Former Top Ranked Fantasy Football Player in the World Mark Deming provides you with the best starting options for players who might end up on the bench if you didn't know any…
Scout FantasyYesterday at 8:16 AM