Tonight, the Kansas City Chiefs will welcome in the hated, despised, and utterly loathed Oakland Raiders for Thursday Night Football! I’m not going to pull any punches. The Chiefs’ rivalry with Oakland speaks for itself. That being said, the nature of this particular game is even more magnified. The Chiefs sit at 9-3 holding a head to head victory over the deplorable Raiders; while Oakland sits at 10-2, currently first place in not just the AFC West, but the entire AFC Conference. The last time these 2 teams met with this high of a winning percentage, this far into the season was 1969. That year the Chiefs, after losing twice to the despicable Raiders during the regular season, came back and demolished them en route to winning Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings. At that time, the AFL Championship was on the line; tonight the AFC West Championship may very well be on the line. Sure, Denver is still right there, a game back of Kansas City and 2 back of Oakland; and there are still 3 more games to play after this one. However, the winner of this game will be in prime position to win not just the division, but possibly the entire AFC. New England also currently sits at 10-2, but they are missing Rob Gronkowski and have some incredibly difficult games down the stretch. Yes, Chiefs/Raiders tonight has more than just bragging rights on the line. This game is as massive a regular season game as the Chiefs organization has ever played. Also, the weather is going to be horrendous, we’re talking kickoff temperatures in the teens with wind chills into the low single digits, plus the possibility of snow in the forecast. It’s going to be a throwback to the old days of professional football. A tough, hard hitting violent game, between 2 teams and fan bases that hate each other. So, what do the Chiefs need to do in order to finish off the sweep of those hated Raiders? I have 3 keys to victory for the Chiefs tonight.
- Destroy Derek Carr – Oakland’s QB Derek Carr has been playing at an MVP level this season. The Oakland offense has been one of the top ones in the NFL from start to finish, with one exception. Week 6 when they hosted the Chiefs and Kansas City held them to a measly 10 points. The Chiefs need to put up a similar effort tonight. The easiest way to do that is to pressure and hit the quarterback. This will be the first time all season that neither Justin Houston nor Dee Ford is on an injury report. Both of them will be at full strength. Those two, along with Tamba Hali must get to Derek Carr early and often. Get the Chiefs Kingdom into this game, and smother the deplorable Raiders from start to finish.
- Establish the run with Spencer Ware and stick to it – The first time these two teams met, the Chiefs handed the ball to Spencer Ware and good things happened. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry, en route to 131 yards and a TD, plus added 32 yards receiving. Oakland’s defense is terrible, it has been since the year began. To their credit, they have started to improve a little bit, but still are 29th in the league against the run. The Chiefs have struggled to run the ball as of late, and Ware has looked like a shell of himself since the Indianapolis game when he got concussed. Playing the pathetic Raiders should be just the cure they need to get things going, as long as they stick to it.
- Stay Disciplined – The Chiefs can’t allow the hated Raiders to bring them down to their level. Oakland is traditionally the most penalized team in the NFL and this year is no exception. They are brash and cocky, they like to run their mouths and bait other teams into fighting. This game will be highly, highly emotional and the Chiefs need to keep their cool. They have had some issues with that this season, and they can’t let it happen tonight.
Get pressure on Carr, establish/stick with the run, and stay disciplined, do those things and there’s no reason that the Chiefs should lose. At the end of the day, when I take my red shades off and look at this game objectively; I see 2 very good, borderline great, teams going head to head in prime time. It doesn’t get any better than this at any level of sport. Objectively, the Chiefs are the better overall team, they’re at home, they’re getting healthy, and they are a team built on a tough brand of defensive football. The vile Raiders have a couple key injuries, they’re traveling on short rest, and they are a finesse team built on a high flying passing game. The temperature at Kickoff is going to be around 17 degrees, with wind chills in the low to mid single digits. To me, that adds up to the Chiefs going out and annihilating those despicable Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. The only thing that gives me pause, is that historically, the Chiefs have let their fans down in huge games like this. However, I refuse to let those past ghosts haunt me today. Chiefs win, 27-13 in dominant fashion against the vile, disgusting, deplorable Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Pregame tonight at 6. Kickoff 7:25 on Topeka’s Rock Leader V100.
Go Chiefs – Screw the Raiders