NFL 2017 Week 7: Kansas City Chiefs vs Oakland Raiders preview and prediction

The Raiders look to snap their four game losing streak, as they host the division leader Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night

The Chiefs dropped their first matchup of the season, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 19-13. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell rushed for a game-high 179 yards and a TD, while WR Antonio Brown added another 155 yards through the air, including a late TD that put Pittsburgh ahead for good. The Steelers defense slowed down rookie sensation Kareem Hunt, holding him to only 21 rushing yards. Kansas City will look to rebound on Thursday night against the Raiders.

Oakland’s struggles continued after suffering a 17-16 loss to division counterpart Los Angeles. The Chargers were able to convert a late FG behind the leg of K Nick Novak late in the fourth to seal the victory. QB Derek Carr returned from back spasms, but threw two INTs and failed to reach 200 yards passing. They are in desperate need of a win this Thursday against Kansas City.   

Derek Carr against Kansas City

Derek Carr has proven to be one of the best young QBs in the NFL, but his record versus the Chiefs has been flat out dreadful. Carr is 1-5 as the starting QB in his six games against Kansas City, while registering only six TDs and five INTs. His passer rating is 68.1 and he is only completing 55% of his passes in these matchups. He will look to flip this trend against an aggressive Chiefs defense on Thursday.

Raiders struggling offense

What is wrong with the Raiders offense? With one of the best young QBs, offensive lines, and WR core, there should be no excuse for this offense to not be ranked in the top 10 of the league. However, through six weeks, the Raiders offense ranks 18th in scoring average with 20.7 points per game and they rank a woeful 30th in yards per game, averaging just under 280 per game. They have a minus-two turnover differential and their offensive line has not played to the standards that they set last season. The good news is that they have another nine games to correct their mistakes, as OC Todd Downing looks to rekindle their form from last season. 

Bounce back?

The Chiefs will look to bounce back with a win this week after taking their first loss on the chin to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This came as a bit of a shock, as the Chiefs only put up 13 points at home against a Pittsburgh defense that hadn’t been very dominating prior to this game. They are a little banged up, as RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill are dealing with some nagging injuries, but their stars should be in no danger of missing this game. They have owned the Raiders in their last six matchups, but will have to be better offensively, as the Raiders offense has enough talent to explode on any given night.

OLB Khalil Mack, OAK vs OT Eric Fisher, KC

This will be an important matchup on Thursday night. Oakland OLB Khalil Mack has four sacks on the season and will need to find a way to get to QB Alex Smith to improve the Raiders chances of winning. Dating back to 2016, Oakland is 9-4 when Khalil Mack records at least one sack. This Raiders defense needs a spark, and the timing may be right for Mack, as the Kansas City Chiefs gave up three sacks to Pittsburgh last week, while LT Eric Fisher was having trouble slowing down the Steelers pass rush.

Fantasy Football Tip- WR Michael Crabtree, OAK

It’s pretty evident that WR Michael Crabtree has overtaken WR Amari Cooper as Derek Carr’s favorite target. With five TDs on the season, and an average of at least five targets per game, Crabtree has been one of the few steady forces for a struggling offense. The Chiefs like to run a lot of man coverage defensively, so look for Crabtree to utilize his efficient route running/physicality to create separation and have a productive night. 

Betting Tip- OAK (+3)

The Raiders come into this one needing a win, and teams can be dangerous when they are in this desperate state. They are familiar with the Chiefs and what they like to do, so that will make things easier on a short week. QB Derek Carr brings the offense back to life, as they rally at home and cover the 3. 

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 27 – Kansas City Chiefs 21

Upset alert! There are really no signs pointing towards a riveting performance from the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, but I’m still optimistic that this team can find some of last seasons magic. They are 2-4 and are already in a “must-win” mode, while the Chiefs are coming in a bit banged up off of their first loss of the season. QB Derek Carr’s health should improve this week and I believe this offense finally shows it’s potential again. The defense will play good enough and the Raiders win desperately, 27-21. 

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    1. Kansas City Chiefs
    2. Oakland Raiders
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