NFL gamblers knew coming into the season that a few rivalry match-ups would tighten the Las Vegas lines in a year in which parity was otherwise not an expectation.
Maybe we should have expected similar records too, at least in the AFC West. Oakland’s quarterback Derek Carr was trashed in late summer, but the veteran’s improvement has helped to move the Raiders to 6-5 and into playoff contention. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have lost a quartet of games and the team’s star QB for a short time.
But the Missourians still have a better W/L mark than the rival Silver & Black – and the Chiefs are a popular point-spread bet on a wide-handicapped market headed into Week 13.
Who: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, December 1st, 4:25 PM
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Lines: OAK (+10.5) at KC (-10.5) / O/U Total: (50)
The Raiders are looking to avenge a 28-10 home loss to the Chiefs in Week 2. Kansas City is coming off a bye week, however, and head coach Andy Reid is an amazing 17-3 in his career with an extra week to prepare for his opponent.
Mahomes may not be getting quite as many accolades as Lamar Jackson right now, but the (ahem) “older” QB of the pair did miss 2 games with his knee injury, returned sooner than expected, and is putting up MVP-type numbers when active. In the 1st game against Oakland in 2019-20, the former Texas Tech star threw for 443 yards and 4 TDs on 30-of-44 passing.
The signal-caller did have issues against the Bolts’ secondary last week:
(The Los Angeles Chargers) limited Patrick Mahomes to his least productive first half as an NFL quarterback. They caught Kansas City on a night when wide receiver Tyreek Hill was injured early and contributed no catches and zero yards. The Chargers also benefited from the Chiefs losing two of their top running backs — Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy — to injuries. And they still couldn’t overcome their inability to make the necessary plays late to avoid another one-score loss.
The Chargers weren’t victimized by Mahomes or Kansas City’s celebrated speed as much as they simply failed to come through when it mattered most. “At the end of the day, we gotta make one more play and we’re not making it,” defensive lineman Damion Square said after the 24-17 loss to the Chiefs. “It’s a red-zone league. It’s a league that comes down to the last score of the game.” The Chargers…lost to the Chiefs despite Mahomes throwing for only 63 yards entering halftime, his career low for a first half. Mahomes finished 19 for 32 for 182 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Chargers free safety Rayshawn Jenkins made a nice leaping play for the pickoff. Mahomes did gain a team-high 59 rushing yards on five carries, scrambling for key yardage in key moments. He was sacked once, by Melvin Ingram, who finished with five tackles and knocked down two passes. In all, the Chargers kept Mahomes, the reigning league MVP, from taking over the game.
Oakland has had a 3-game winning streak snapped in New Jersey, as Sam Darnold and the upstart Jets shocked the Raiders in a 34-3 rout last week. Derek Carr and his supporting cast barely broke 200 total yards on the day, as no matter what the Raiders offense tried to do the New York defense had an answer for it. Carr had what was easily his worst game of the season before eventually being benched for Mike Glennon, and rookie tailback Josh Jacobs was only able to muster up 34 yards on 10 carries.
Not all is lost – Carr is still having his best season as a pro. After working with numerous head coaches and offensive coordinators throughout his 6-year tenure in the NFL, it feels like the former Fresno State star is finally getting comfortable. The 28-year-old is completing over 70% of his passes, ranking 3rd in the NFL in completion percentage at the moment, and still carries a QBR above 100.
In fact, a few pundits are pointing to the Raiders’ 6-5 record and arguing that with Josh Jacobs emerging as an every-down back in his rookie season (with 201 carries for 957 yards and 7 TD’s through 11 games), skipper Gruden and the Raiders are just another big-game WR away from competing for an AFC Championship.
Too bad that Antonio Brown thing didn’t work out.
This contest will be won on the line-of-scrimmage more than anywhere else (aren’t they all?) despite the focus on offensive backfields and passing numbers. Reid will have a game plan that masks any up-front weaknesses for KC and allows the offense at least 1 scoring drive per quarter and possibly “bonus” TDs and FGs near the end of each half. On the other side, the Raider offense should find ways to get back to its mid-season level of productivity against a Chiefs defense that didn’t play well enough to hold a solid team to 17 points last game – only the hapless Chargers.
Take Over (50) points on a calm, above-freezing occasion at Arrowhead.