Kansas City Chiefs
(5-2, 5-2 ATS)
(4-4, 5-3 ATS)
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs were fighting for the AFC West crown each and every season. Even though both teams have been in the dumps quite a bit in recent years, the two are going to be involved in one of the most crucial duels of the day on Sunday when they meet in the Black Hole.
Though the Chiefs have five wins this year, this is the game that can really affirm their season. They only have one road win on the season, and knowing that they still have a game to play at Qualcomm Stadium would have to be wearing on them, especially if they lose this game. KC has the best ground game in the NFL this year, averaging 190.4 yards per game. For as long as RB Jamaal Charles and RB Thomas Jones are off and running, the passing game can afford to rank dead last in the NFL at 164.4 yards per game. Charles has 666 yards and two scores, while Jones has 538 yards and three scores this year, and it is clear that both men are going to get to the 1,000 yard mark unless one or both end up getting injured. QB Matt Cassel knows that he just needs to not turn the ball over to succeed, and he has done just that, making only three mistakes on the season. Getting seven sacks and a Pro Bowl type of season out of DE Tamba Hali has really made all the difference in the world for this defense as well.
Just two weeks ago, the Raiders looked like they were dead in the water at 2-4 and were going to be nowhere near the playoff picture. My, how quickly things change in the NFL! Oakland has posted two victories in which it has destroyed its opponents by the combined scores of 92-17 to really get back into the swing of things. A win this week might be a must though, as straight off of the bye week next week come games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers. QB Jason Campbell has found himself again, and he could be set for a big second half of the year after two straight great games. However, RB Darren McFadden is where this offense starts and stops. “Run DMC” has rushed for 668 yards, and the most remarkable part about it is that he has only had six games to do it in. TE Zach Miller is emerging as a potential Pro Bowler as well, as he has 34 catches, 461 yards, and four touchdowns to lead the team. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is coming off of his first 100+ yard game of his career.
The Chiefs are about to get a dose of reality here. Oakland absolutely needs this game, and the team is playing with all sorts of positive mojo right now. These aren’t terrible teams that it is playing against either. Lay the short NFL point spread in this one, as the Raiders should be rocking and rolling in the Black Hole.
Pro Football Free Pick: Oakland Raiders -1