Kansas City Chiefs (6-5 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4:05PM EST
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC -3/OAK +3
Over/Under Total: 44
On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs come into the Bay Area to face the Oakland Raiders in a key AFC West matchup. Both teams were successful on Sunday. Kansas City continued their miraculous upsurge. After starting the season at 1-5, they are unbelievably holding down one of the wild card spots with five games to go. Oakland is 5-6 after a 24-21 road win over the Titans on Sunday. But theyve shown a lot of spirit and overall improvement this season and figure to give the Chiefs a good battle on Sunday.
Kansas Citys season has been easy to chart, as it has been a tale of two seasons. They opened 2015 with a road win over Houston, before going on a 5-game losing streak that appeared to derail their season. A season-ending injury to Jamaal Charles didnt help. And the losses consisted of some close and painful defeats, the type of losses that can really get a team down and keep them there. But they now find themselves over .500 following a 5-game winning streak, having extricated themselves out of what seemed too deep of a hole at 1-5.
The Raiders have experienced an up-and-down season, as well. The road win on Sunday was a positive development, bringing an end to a 3-game slide that took them out of playoff contention, though a win here would pump some wind into their hopes. Oakland is a rising team, but one that will be prone to some issues from time to time. The growth of their offense has been very positive, but their defense lags far behind and theyre still a work-in-progressa team that will shine some weeks and fall far short in others.
When looking at Kansas City for the purposes of formulating a wager, its important to go beyond what exists on paper. They have a quarterback who always seems like a mid-pack guy, their main weapon in Charles is out, their aerial package is devoid of name-power or game-changing talent, and the O-line has allowed their QB to be sacked 35 times this season. But lets not forget to take into account the determination and belief of a team that is able to chip away at a 1-5 record the way the Chiefs havecompletely turning things around and in just over a month, going from laughingstock to contender. Teams like that are hard to go against and once they grasp onto that momentum, its hard to pry it from their grip.
Smith is known as a more efficient type of quarterback and hes been living up to that billing. He hasnt thrown a pick since September 28 and he is running this offense quite smoothly. Charles absence leaves a gaping hole, but guys like Chancandrick West and Spencer Ware have come through with some nice performances lately. Ware came out of nowhere on Sunday with 114 yards on the ground and a touchdown, while West was out with a hamstring issue. The KC aerial game is a bit deflated as usual, with TE Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin leading the way. Again, it looks pretty bland on paper, but in their last four games, theyve scored 137 points.
Really making it come together for the Chiefs is their defense over the course of the last month-plus. In the first part of the season, they were decidedly non-impactful and unable to come up with the big play. But over the last 5 games, theyve given up a paltry 61 points, with 22 of those coming in their last game in a win over Buffalo. Theyve been exceptionally tough lately, making big plays with turnovers and a massive pass-rush.
The Raiders offense will have their hands full on Sunday. After two road games in a row, theyll be happy to return to their stomping grounds. And after not winning any road games last season, theyve already won 3 this season. QB Derek Carr was fantastic on Sunday, throwing for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rookie receiver Amari Cooper was over 100 yards, as was Seth Roberts, who also went over 100 with a pair of touchdown catches. Latavius Murray wasnt all that productive, but his contributions on the ground this season have been valuable. Michael Crabtree leads all receivers with 6 touchdowns. This is an offense that has forged an identity in Carrs second season.
Oaklands defense, however, is still in its developmental stages. They can sometimes apply a nice pass-rush and change a game with turnovers. Veteran Charles Woodson has 5 picks. They can make some goof things happen from time to time. But they are also one of the more-porous defenses against the pass and average at best against the run. Theyre pretty inconsistent, performing well some weeks and leaky in othersoften times without much warning or reason.
Oakland has also been streaky this season. Since week one, they won 2 in a row, lost two in a row, won two in a row, lost three in a row, and are now coming off another win. Do they go on another little spurt now? So far this season, theyve beaten teams that werent doing very well at the time they played themBaltimore, Cleveland, San Diego, the Jets, and Tennessee last week. This week, they get a surging KC team.
Over the past few years, the Chiefs have shown they can put together big runs and are tough to beat once they get on a roll. Teams that manage to fight through adversity can see a huge windfall once they start experiencing the flip side of the coin. Oakland could certainly do well in this spot as home dogs. But right now, they need more stars to line up than Kansas City, who seems like the more bankable commodity heading into this week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 3 points.
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