KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-1)
at OAKLAND RAIDERS (2-4)
O.co Coliseum – Oakland, CA
Kickoff: Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas City -3.0, Total: 47.5
The Raiders will be hoping to deal the Chiefs their second consecutive loss when the teams meet on Thursday.
Kansas City was undefeated heading into a home matchup with Pittsburgh last week, which probably seemed like it would result in the Chiefs moving to 6-0 on the season. The Steelers ended up winning that game, though. Pittsburgh won 19-13 as a three-point favorite in that game, but the Chiefs have a pretty good chance to get back on track here. They do have to deal with flying to California, but they’re facing a Raiders team that has wildly underperformed this season. Oakland should, however, get up for this game on Thursday. It’s a nationally televised matchup and the Raiders absolutely have to win this one if they want to make it to the postseason. If they fall to 2-5 then they can pretty much kiss the season goodbye. One thing that works in the Chiefs favor in this game is the fact that they are a ridiculous 5-0 SU (4-1 ATS) in their past five meetings with the Raiders. They’re also 17-8 SU (18-7 ATS) when going on the road to face Oakland since 1997. One trend that favors the Chiefs is the fact that they are 6-0 ATS in road games after three consecutive games with a turnover margin of +1 or better under head coach Andy Reid. Favoring the Raiders, however, is the fact that the Raiders are 18-12 ATS against conference opponents under Jack Del Rio.
The Chiefs are coming off of a poor performance against the Steelers last week, but they’ll be looking forward to facing a lousy Raiders defense in this one. QB Alex Smith (1,637 yards, 12 TD, 0 INT) is the guy that will benefit the most from facing Oakland’s secondary here. Smith was just 19-of-34 for 246 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh last week, and that was his worst game of the season. That says a lot about the type of year the quarterback is having, as he didn’t throw a single pick and still will be disappointed with how he played. Look for him to throw for around 300 yards with two or more touchdowns here. And when he does go to the air, it’ll be WR Tyreek Hill (30 rec, 390 yards, 2 TD) and TE Travis Kelce (33 rec, 390 yards, 2 TD) that he’ll be throwing to. As for the running game, RB Kareem Hunt (630 yards, 4 TD) should also have his way here. Hunt has been one of the best rushers in the league thus far, and he has a legitimate shot to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. It’s hard to imagine this Oakland defense really doing much to stop him. On defense, the Chiefs will need to make sure they’re able to defend the pass, though. Oakland likes to air it out as much as any other team in the league.
The Raiders can really use a win on Thursday, but they’ll need QB Derek Carr (924 yards, 8 TD, 4 INT) to be a lot better than he was last week. Against the Chargers, Carr threw for only 171 yards with one touchdown and two picks. If he is going to turn the ball over multiple times then Oakland is going to find it very tough to start winning games. That is especially true against this Kansas City defense, as the Chiefs have a ball-hawking secondary. Carr also needs to do a better job of getting WR Amari Cooper (18 rec, 146 yards, 1 TD) involved. Cooper looked like a budding superstar in his first two years in the league, but he has been absolutely miserable as of late. That needs to change if the Raiders are going to get back on track, and RB Marshawn Lynch (257 yards, 2 TD) will also need to be a lot better moving forward. Lynch has not given the Raiders the spark in the running game that they expected. That is an aspect of this offense that must be figured out soon. And on defense, the Raiders are going to need to defend in all levels on Thursday.