Chiefs fans couldn’t blame Alex Smith for the team’s latest loss. He had a standout performance against the Jets with 366 passing yards and four touchdowns. Smith has taken a lot of heat lately, but he’s had a solid season. Derek Carr got the job done for the Raiders last week despite not playing with his top two wideouts.
Funny how much changes during an NFL season. The last time these two teams met, Kareem Hunt was running away with the Rookie of the Year award and Marshawn Lynch appeared to have lost a step. Lynch is now the hot back after a 101-yard rushing performance. Hunt has had a forgetful second half.
Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton stepped up while Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were sidelined a week ago. Carr could have all his weapons back Sunday if Cooper and Jared Cook are healthy enough to play. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce had monster games for the Chiefs last week.
The Raiders offensive linemen were key during Lynch’s 51-yard rushing touchdown against the Giants. The Chiefs offensive line has struggled with run blocking, which has led to Hunt cooling off.
Khalil Mack wasn’t alone versus the Giants, as defensive coordinator John Pagano dialed up blitz plays often. Denico Autry stepped up for the Raiders and recorded a key sack. The Chiefs are led by Justin Houston.
NaVorro Bowman’s solid outing allowed Bruce Irvin to attack Giants quarterback Geno Smith. Bowman led the team in tackles with nine, and Irvin had eight tackles and a sack. Derrick Johnson, Reggie Ragland and Tamba Hali start at linebacker for Kansas City.
The Chiefs have more talent in the secondary, but both teams have been dreadful against the pass. Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters was suspended by the team for throwing an official’s flag into the stands. Raiders cornerback David Amerson (foot) is questionable to play.
Hill and De’Anthony Thomas give Kansas City arguably the NFL’s fastest kick returners. Patterson is not far behind.
The Chiefs are in a midst of a free fall, but they have the luxury of playing at home. They will want revenge after losing to the Raiders in Oakland. Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking for this AFC West showdown.
Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Chiefs 23-13 — The road team has gone 21-8 ATS in the past 29 meetings and the total has gone under in eight of the past nine meetings at Arrowhead Stadium. I like the under again. Sure, it was 31-30 in the first meeting in Week 8, but a lot has happened since. That remains the only game in which Derek Carr and Amari Cooper were in sync, and Cooper is questionable because of an ankle injury. Kansas City’s offense busted loose last week at the Jets, but the Chiefs’ game plan has been weak while going 1-6 in their past seven. I like the Chiefs to cover because they don’t turn the ball over much — No. 1 in NFL with eight turnovers. And Oakland doesn’t force turnovers — No. 32 in the NFL with nine and only one interception.