Thursday Night Football gives us a fierce AFC rivalry as the Chiefs take on the Raiders. Derek Carr has lost five straight against Kansas City, Neil Monnery looks into whether he can stop that bad run...
"In Marshawn Lynch, many thought they would solve their backfield issues. No such luck. I wasn't a huge fan even when he was in his prime, he's clearly not there any more and 257 yards so far this season proves that. "
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Start-time: Friday 20 October, 01:25 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event
For the Raiders...
How many people remember when Oakland were everyone's dark horses to win it all? Seems like a long time ago but that is what happens when you lose four straight, people jump off the bandwagon rather quickly.
Derek Carr returned from injury last week but looked rusty in the surprise 17-16 loss to the Chargers. He did go 21/30 but only for 171 yards with a score and two picks. If he's at that level again tonight then I doubt the Raiders have much of a chance.
In Marshawn Lynch, many thought they would solve their backfield issues. No such luck. I wasn't a huge fan even when he was in his prime, he's clearly not there any more and 257 yards so far this season proves that.
They do have receiving weapons in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree but they'll need Derek Carr to throw them the ball down the field. The Quarterback is supposedly completely healed from the back injury he sustained in Denver, I'd be dubious about that.
One quick note on the Raiders D tonight, they get NaVorro Bowman in for his debut having been cut by the 49ers. The former Nittany Lion was once a great linebacker but injuries have slowed him down. He sadly isn't the answers to all what ails Jack Del Rio's men.
For the Chiefs...
They might have finally notched one up in the loss column but as it stands, they are still in my opinion the best team in what is a down year for the NFL.
What I love is the speed they have at the skill positions. Both Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt appeared on the injury report this week but took full part in practice. If they are both good to go as expected, they'll cause the Raiders D all sorts of issues in space.
At the Quarterback position Alex Smith is your MVP of the league through six weeks. That was as hard to write for me as it was for you to read. Yet the stats back it up. A passer rating of 119.2, completing 72.9% of his passes for 12 TDs and has yet to throw an inception. He seems like the perfect man to run the controls of this offense.
I also like Travis Kelce for a big night receiving the ball. Oakland struggled with two good Tight End's last Sunday in Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates and the Chiefs' man in that position is in the upper echelons of the league.
Clearly I like Kansas City. Even though it is in Oakland and on a short week, I just think they are a better team and can attack Oakland's porous pass defense. At the time of writing the Chiefs-3.5 is available at [2.14] on the Exchange and that looks good.
Points wise the line has been set at 46 and that is right about where I think it should be. So a very soft play on the unders but one it is hard to have a strong feeling over. This is available at [1.94] on the Exchange.
One one side market tip tonight and it is in my old stomping ground of first TD scorer. I have talked up Travis Kelce so rolling with him at 17/2 on the Sportsbook provides a small value play.