Oakland Raiders (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Week 14 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, December 8, 2016 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: OAK +3/KC -3
Over/Under Total: 47
The Oakland Raiders come to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football. It's a huge AFC West matchup between the 10-2 Raiders and the 9-3 Chiefs, with the winner of this game that much closer to winning the division. The Chiefs won on Sunday, beating the Atlanta Falcons on the road, 29-28. Oakland, meanwhile, had a big 4th quarter (what's new?) to beat the Buffalo Bills, 38-24.
The last time the Raiders lost was to this very Chiefs team at home, as they have now won 6 in a row. They will be looking to avoid the season-sweep, which would force them to beat KC outright to win the division, something that might not be that easy to do. In that first game, the Chiefs' defense won the day, keeping the Raiders scoreless in the second half to pull away for the 26-10 win. The Chiefs also got good performances from QB Alex Smith and RB Spencer Ware, capitalized on a few turnovers, and kept the Oakland run-game in check en route to the big win.
Even against a tough visiting Buffalo team and behind in the 4th quarter, one couldn't get too down on Oakland after watching Derek Carr navigate his way to so many come-from-behind wins this season. A TD strike from Carr to Cooper from 37 yards pulled Oakland ahead, before a Latavius Murray TD run and a two put them ahead by 14. Against a tough Buffalo defense, Carr labored some on just 19-for-35 passing. But he did have 260 yards and two TD throws with no picks. Murray was excellent with 82 yards and a pair of TD runs. Rookie Jalen Richard added 53 yards. Oakland's top two receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, both hauled in TD grabs. At one point in the third quarter, Oakland trailed by 15 points. Time and again, they overcome.
As is Oakland's wont, they yielded a lot of rushing yardage in the win against the Bills. Buffalo put up over 200 yards on the ground, with LeSean McCoy running for 130 yards, while Mike Gillislee added 49 and two TD runs, with Taylor running one in, as well. McCoy also had 7 catches, as Oakland struggled all day with the dynamic back. But this is a defense that thrives in the clutch and holding he Bills scoreless in the fourth quarter was key. Khalil Mack is becoming one of the more-impactful players in the league and forced two turnovers on Sunday. Time and again, we've seen the defense tighten up in the most critical of situations. And on Sunday, the pass-rush was pretty big with Mack again getting after it and Bruce Irvin chipping in, as well.
The Raiders are an interesting study for a 10-2 team. The record suggests dominance, though their on-field play doesn't always do the same. The Raiders were able to soundly beat a ragged Jaguars team, while their game against the Broncos was a fairly routine 10-point win. Other than that, their wins have had a grinding aspect to it. But while their results suggest a lack of dominance perhaps, their ability to pull out close wins and go for the gusto late might outweigh that.
It seems hard to believe, but Kansas City has won 19 of their last 22 regular season games. They've done it quietly. It can defy the way people look at and evaluate teams. After all, they're 22nd in total offense and the 28th-ranked defense in the league. There is no star-power on this team. Offensively, they rely on Alex Smith at QB, along with a good and versatile back in Spencer Ware with a good tight end in Travis Kelce. Leading receiver Jeremy Maclin returned to practice this past week, leading some to think he should resurface this week. All of the KC big dogs on offense had moments of success on Sunday against the Falcons. Smith was 21-for-25 passing with 270 yards, while Kelce had 140 yards receiving. Ware scored both on the ground and through the air. WR Albert Wilson scored on a direct snap 55-yard TD run. They also got a big assist on the other side of the ball.
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The Chiefs' defense was not ironclad on Sunday, yielding over 400 yards of offense and 28 points to the Falcons. The Falcons are a high-powered offense, however, and the Chiefs' defense was able to get some big plays that made the difference. Eric Berry was huge with 2 picks, one for a touchdown and the other on a two-point conversion late that ended up being the game-winning score. Again, the defense will be porous for big stretches of the game against both the pass and the run. But they can also be a clutch and a playmaking group. They get a good pass-rush with Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and Dee Ford. And the secondary, while leaky on occasion, can make plays and get picks. Despite how many yards they allow, the KC defense is still allowing just 20.2 points a game.
Both of these teams are well-coached squads that get an awful lot out of what they have. Each team has risen to the occasion late for big wins time and again. The first game suggested some matchup advantages on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs. And now they're at home, following consecutive road wins. Arrowhead is not an easy place to play, especially for an Oakland team that has benefitted from 4 straight home games, including a bye week. This might not be the most-ideal spot for the Raiders. I'm taking the home team.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Kansas City chiefs minus 3 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Raiders vs. Chiefs game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!