The Raiders, who many predicted to be the next Super Bowl Champions, have struggled as well this year going into the final stretch of games. Winning 3 of their last 4 games they have done just enough to be back in the conversation for the race of the West. Returning to one of the most overrated teams in the NFL this week as many predict them to win the division.
In their last four games, they lost to the New England Patriots and have won by less than 7 points to the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos led by quarterback Paxton Lynch, and New York Giants led by quarterback Geno Smith. There is nothing to be proud of there other than that they have found ways to win, unlike the Chiefs as of late.
Many NFL analysts predicted the Raiders to be an offensive juggernaut in 2017 and take the division with pretty handily. It has been far short of a juggernaut offense due to the offense as a whole unit regressing this year including quarterback Derek Carr. Carr has thrown 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while averaging 248.27 yards per game this year in his 11 games.
Running back Marshawn Lynch who was picked up in the offseason and many expected to be the missing piece to this offense has been quite the let down so far. He has just started to really get something going in the last few games with two 100 plus all-purpose yard games. He had his first 100-yard rushing game this last week when hosting the Giants.
Wide receivers including Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have had issues with dropping the ball this year to make it even harder for this offense to get much of anything going. The Raiders are hoping to have Cooper back for this game against the Chiefs after he left the game vs the Broncos in week 12 with a concussion and ankle injury. He has cleared concussion protocol but has been held out of practice with troubles in his ankle.
Cooper exploded against the Chiefs in their last meeting with 11 catches for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, he has been mostly a non-factor the rest of the season totaling 31 catches for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns in his other 10 games combined. Crabtree will be back to face the Chiefs after his one-game suspension for the fight with Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib in week 12.
The Raiders offense, much like the Chiefs, will have to step their game up a notch if they want to beat their division rival and sweep the Chiefs for the first time since 2012. The defense has been little help as they rank 23rd against the pass this season and failed to get a single interception until week 12 against the Broncos.
This game is very important for the Raiders to hopefully get a lead on the rest of the division as they face a tough three games to finish out the season. They still have to face the Dallas Cowboys, Philidelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Chargers. This would be the first time since 2002 that the Raiders have won the division.