The summer walk-through of the Kansas City Chiefs schedule continues today with a Week 15 road game against the Oakland Raiders. The December 16 matchup is tentatively slotted as a major national game on CBS, and while that’s hardly set in stone, it’s certainly an indicator that NFL TV execs think this game is going to be big in the AFC West.
Oakland will be at the end of a three-game homestand when this game comes around, and coming off a game against the Denver Broncos, one that will also presumably have significant playoff implications for one or both teams. Kansas City will be playing its second straight road game, although the previous game was against the Cleveland Browns. So you can spin the schedule spot both directions. Either the Raiders will be focused because they won’t be travel-weary, or the Chiefs will have the mental edge because they played an easier opponent the week before.
The Chiefs and Raiders played their first game on October 28 and obviously the fundamental strategic framework is no different here, even if the homefield edge changes hands. In both cases, weather is at least a possible factor and in both cases you would expect Las Vegas betting lines to be conservative and default to the home team as a three-point favorite. In both cases, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassell is going to need to throw the ball effectively. The defensive strength of the Raiders lies in the front seven, but if Kansas City receivers Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin can get some separation and Cassell can connect, then things can be opened up for running back Jamaal Charles. The two games against the Raiders are the rare spot where the Chiefs will be better off using the pass to set up the run.
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