The Raiders travel to Kansas City for a crucial divisional game, in Week 13. Ben Steele thinks the Chiefs will effectively secure the AFC West title with a win...
"The Chiefs (7-4) are one game ahead of the 6-5 Raiders, and hold the tiebreaker, so they know that beating Oakland on Sunday will all but wrap up the division title."
Chiefs set to air it out
Coming in to the season the Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs were heavy favourites to win the AFC West division, but the expectation was that they would be pushed all the way by the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs have stumbled at times but are playing at expectations, but the Chargers challenge has never really materialised, and now the Oakland Raiders lead the chasing pack. The Chiefs (7-4) are one game ahead of the 6-5 Raiders, and hold the tiebreaker, so they know that beating Oakland on Sunday will all but wrap up the division title.
Mahomes is 3-0 against the Raiders in his career and averages three touchdown passes a game against them. In Week 2 he was at his explosive best, throwing for four touchdowns in the second quarter and racking up a season high 443 passing yards as the Chiefs receiving group dominated the Raiders. Most worryingly for Oakland, Mahomes was that productive without support from the speedster Tyreek Hill, and rookie WR Mecole Hardman who have emerged as a pair of home run hitters, who could score from anywhere on the field. Mahomes' passing yards line is set at a good level but I think he will control the game and cover the line.
Kelce leads charge against poor travelling Raiders
Oakland have been better than expected in 2019, but that is almost entirely down to their home form. Oakland are 5-1 at home, the only loss coming to Kansas City, but just 1-4 on the road. That poor away form was highlighted last week by a crushing 34-3 loss to the New York Jets, as Sam Darnold picked their defence apart. Particularly worrying for Oakland is that when they lose the games aren't all that close, and four of the five losses have been by 18 points or more.
Alongside the talented receiving duo of Hill and Hardman, Mahomes also has All-Star tight end Travis Kelce to rely on. Kelce, a four-time Pro Bowler, leads the teams in receptions and receiving yards this term as he builds towards another impressive season. In addition, the 30-year-old has become a more consistent scoring option since Patrick Mahomes returned from injury a couple of weeks ago; with a touchdown in each of his last two games. Back Kelce to open the scoring and kick off a comfortable Kansas City victory.
Rookie of the year leader is Oakland's main man
A ray of hope for the Raiders in this game is rookie running back Josh Jacobs. The Alabama product is the favourite to win rookie of the year, and rightly so, as he has been one of the most productive rushers in the NFL this season. With Oakland aiming to keep the ball away from the explosive Chiefs offence, Jacobs looks primed for another big day. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will look for quarterback Derek Carr to orchestrate a series of long, clock eating drives and Jacobs will be at the heart of those, particularly given the Chiefs defensive struggles against the run.
Another Alabama runner, Derrick Henry of the Titans, ran all over the Chiefs two weeks ago on his way to 188 yards and two touchdowns in a surprise Tennessee win. Henry, like Jacobs, is a physical runner who initiates contact on a regular basis so look for Oakland to try and copy the Titans style. Jacobs will look to bulldoze his way in to the endzone for the eighth time this season to keep his side in with a chance.
Ben Steele NFL P/L:
Staked: 44 pts
Returned: 39.8 pts
P/L: -4.2 pts