To say the 2017 Season for the Raiders has been ugly would be an understatement. Star players getting injured, poor defensive play and the best division in football have all contributed to a 2-4 start to a season where the Raiders were the popular outsider’s choice for Super Bowl champions.
Everything started well with two comfortable wins, away to the Titans and at home against the Jets, scoring a total of 71 points in the process and Marshawn Lynch looking like the running back of old. Since then the Raiders have lost four straight games, two of which were to division rivals, and not had a game leading passer, rusher or receiver in any of those games. The offense ranks 30th for total yards per game, well down on what was expected from this offense that was so promising a year ago.
Of course, Derek Carr going down with a back injury in week 4 against the Broncos was not good. He did end up missing only one game, but it won’t help the team at all if he is dealing with this injury for the remainder of the year and not able to play at his usual standard, especially considering EJ Manuel did not play too badly in his two appearances as a Raider.
The team does face a make or break game on Thursday night football against the NFL leading, 5-1 Chiefs. Kansas City has been on a tear after demolishing the defending champion Patriots in week 1, but their slip up did come last week against the Steelers in battle of AFC powerhouses. A win over these inter division rivals could easily give the Raiders their swagger back to run the AFC West for the rest of the year, despite currently being at the bottom of the division.
After opening anywhere between 12-1 and 20-1 (depending on where you looked) to win the Super Bowl, the Raiders now sit at 40-1. For a team sitting at 2-4 and bottom of their division, those odds aren’t that enticing. Only six teams have better odds than the Raiders from the AFC.
Earlier this week, the Chiefs opened as 2.5-point favourites, with the total points for the game being placed at 47.5. All bar one of the Raiders losses have been by more than three points, whilst all the Chiefs wins have come by seven points or more. Kansas has used its run game to substantial success so far this season, but with the Raiders recently signing surprise free agent LV Navarro Bowman that could come to a halt.
Sadly you would expect Kansas City to both cover the spread and help surpass the low points total as they outmatch Oakland in all the major areas so far this year and will likely do so in person on Thursday night.