How the weather will be a factor in Thursday night’s Week 14 divisional matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.
This Thursday night, the Oakland Raiders will face a division foe in the Kansas City Chiefs for what could determine the division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
What did we all remember from the Week 6 matchup against the Chiefs, other than the fact that the Raiders didn’t even deserve to hold the KC’s jockstrap in a 26-10 loss? Oh yeah, the fact that is was a complete down-pour the entire game, and that it had a big impact on the Oakland’s offense.
That day it was said the rain was so bad that it literally felt like you were in a tsunami. Derek Carr and the offense were held to 285 yards, and the defense was burned for over 400 yards. It was a game all Raiders fans wanted to forget.
Don’t look now, but this Thursday, the weather could be just as bad, if not worse.
Since Kansas City is two hours ahead of the folks on the West Coast, the game is slated to kickoff at 7:25pm CST. If the forecast holds up, it will be at or near 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is very, very cold.
In order for the Raiders to come away with a win here in the less-than-ideal weather, they will need to stick to a few keys.
Get the run game going
Last week against the Bills, the Raiders finally regained some of their mojo in the run game by gaining 139 yards on the ground, moved them up to 7th in the NFL in rushing yards per game.
The Chiefs currently rank 27th in the league in stopping the run. Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard and the offensive line need to take advantage of this weakness, as whoever controls the tempo and time of possession, will most likely come out with the win.
Derek Carr, do your best Alex Smith impression
Yes, you read that correctly. All Derek Carr needs to do for this game in particular, is be a game manager.
Carr managed a Week 9 game against the Broncos to a tee, and in result, the Raiders dominated the time of possession, ran for over 200 yards, won the turnover battle, and also kept the defense fresh and off the field.
Carr does not need to throw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He just needs to record a high completion percentage, convert on important third-downs, and generally just play a clean, efficient game.
Will the Raiders defense please stand up?
If this defense has any ounce of self-pride, they will show up come Thursday night.
The Chiefs are not exactly a juggernaut on offense, as they are ranked 24th in total offense. The key is to shut down Spencer Ware and force Alex Smith to beat you through the air.
Considering the Raiders have Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin coming off the edge, you can expect another 4+ sack performance from the defensive line, but only if they are able to neutralize the run game and make Smith have to throw the ball 40+ times.
If the Raiders can do these three things, regardless of cold weather or a down-pour of rain, they will move to 11-2 on the season and put a stranglehold on 1st place of the AFC West.
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