Chiefs-Raiders: The Unrivaled Rivalry

Ben Davidson
Those were my favorite games...I always likened them to a heavyweight fight. You knew you were going to get beat up, but it was fun. We needed the Chiefs. We wouldn't have been as good without them.

It's something special. It's not just media hype...You can sense it with coaches and players. Then you get out into the community, and you realize what a huge game this is for both cities.

Kirk Morrison

In Oakland...the games you always really wanted to come see were the Niners and the Chiefs. You grew up hating red...It goes deep. It's not just the teams. It's the organizations, you know, which organization is better? These are two teams that played in the old AFL against each other. Most of the history goes back to it. They've been AFC West rivals for a very, very long time. It's always been the must-win game.

Gunther Cunnigham

"It's a dark game. I characterize it as a lot of darkness." When asked whether "dark" was meant as 'a good vs. evil dark'—"You can read between the lines."

Harvey Williams

Only one word: Blood.

Raiders-Chiefs, the rivalry so epically awesome it has its own Wikipedia page

Let's get one thing straight: I hate the Chiefs. I am not a fan of any other AFC West team, but I really hate the Chiefs. And this is for good reason. The Chiefs made the majority of my football '90s a trip down the douche water river. Many of these games were close, but name a way to blow a game late and I can show you an example of it in a Raiders loss to the Chiefs.

In the 90's the Raiders were 3-18 against the Chiefs. For those of you keeping score at home, this is not good. The Raiders won exactly once in Arrowehead in the decade of Grunge and that was in the Raiders last game of the decade. 

It was a thrilling 41-38 victory in overtime and it knocked the Chiefs out of the playoffs. Not only did it rip the Chiefs hearts out, but it was a close game in KC that the Raiders finally did not blow.

It was the springboard for Gruden's Raiders early 00's domination as it shook the last monkey off of their back. There were signs leading up to that game that the Raiders had in fact turned the corner. Just like this year, two weeks prior to the Chief game the Raiders won by 45 when they trounced Tampa Bay.

While those Raiders went onto to dominate early in the just concluded decade, the rivalry ended up in the Chiefs favor 12-8. Gone are the woes of Arrowhead failure, however, as the Raiders look to shake the monkey off of their back in their own stadium. In an odd twist the Raiders have not beaten the Chiefs in Oakland since 2002, when they shut out the Chiefs 24-0. Since that game there have only been two contests that have been decided by more than 7 points. 

While the games have been close, they haven't meant that much to the rest of the division. In fact, that 1999 OT victory may be the last real meaningful game the two have played. This game puts to an end that trend.

Let's take a look at the matchups to watch:

Taking Raided Gold Via Casino

Chiefs Rushing Attack vs Raiders Rushing Defense

The Raiders are coming off of back-to-back blowout victories. The Raiders are also coming off of back-to-back games against teams that really, really, really suck at running the football. The Chiefs running game resembles the last two Raiders opponents in that opposite kind of way.

The Chiefs are first in rushing YPG per game and second in YPC at 5.2. Their offensive line is 3rd in run blocking DVOA and they are right behind the Texans--we all know what the Texans ground game did.

The Chiefs are having success running to all spots on the field, but they find their most room on the perimeters. 18 of their 38 carries of 10+ yards have come rushing on the outside left. This is actually the area where the Raiders are ranked the highest stopping the run.

Overall the run woes, they are 28th at 4.7 YPC, have not been the fault of the defensive line. In fact, the Raiders are 9th in runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. It is when backs get past that point where the damage is being done. 

This will set up for an interesting confrontation as the Chiefs offensive line is paving the way for the Chiefs to be the best in the league in lack of run stuffage.

Tamba Hali vs Raiders Pass Protection

Hali is the Chiefs pass rush. The Chiefs are 20th in the league in sack percentage and 19th in sacks with 14, but Hali is 4th in the NFL with 7. Hali will line up on either side of the line and I am sure he is licking his chops while thinking of attacking the Raiders Tackles. 

The Raiders are currently 27th with a 8.7 percent sacks allowed percentage. Look for the Raiders to continue to utilize Khalif "hands" Barnes as an extra Tackle on Hali's side.

Gifted Blankets From The Pirate Ship

Raiders Rushing Attack vs Chiefs Rush Defense

The Raiders are now 2nd in Rushing YPG and 4th in yards per carry and with improving health and play calling they seem to be getting better with every carry.

KC is 7th in Rush Defense DVOA and 8th in YPC at 3.8. They are, however, almost completely opposite of the Raiders in that the Chiefs are 31st in runs stuffed. They are 4th in stopping runs on the 2nd level and 7th in stopping runs beyond that. 

I don't think too many teams want to base their run defense off of tackling McFadden beyond the line of scrimmage. The Texans who also utilize a Zone Blocking scheme and a speedy back averaged 6 yards per carry on the Chiefs.

Leaning even more in favor of the Raiders is the fact that the Chiefs struggle the most with runs up the middle where Football Outsiders has them ranked 20th in adjusted line yards with runs up the middle. The Raiders are tied for the league lead with 12 carries going for 10+ yards up the middle.

Raiders RBs vs Chiefs Pass Defense

To great success, the Raiders revealed their super secret double tipped Immaculate Bush play last week. They need to run this at least four times against the Chiefs...it's unstoppable.

Seriously though, I don't think it is absurd to say the McFadden and Reece may be the most dynamic and versatile receiving backfield duo in the history of football. It is fun to watch and McFadden hasn't even really gotten out in routes yet--he has just been utilized in screens and dump offs.

On the season, the Raiders backs are averaging 9.9 yards per catch and 7.4 catches per game. While the Chiefs are ranked 21st in pass defense DVOA against backs. They are allowing 7.8 yards per catch and 6.9 catches per game to backs.

The Staredown Over The Shoreline

Chiefs Pass Protection vs Raiders Pass Rush

The Raiders are now 2nd in sack percentage at 9.3. The Chiefs are 8th in sacks allowed percentage at 4.28. This number would appear to not tell the whole story of QB pressure allowed though as the Chiefs may have only given up 8 sacks this season, they have allowed 29 QB hits. 

Turnovers

The Chiefs have only lost one fumble all year. The Raiders defense has recovered 8 fumbles--this is 7th most in the league. Matt Cassel has also only been intercepted three time. While the Chiefs don't turn the ball over much (they are 1st in the league with 4), they don't force many either. They are ranked 26th in turnovers forced with 9.

How The Raiders Go Home Happy

See Sons Gameplan below and...

Just like any Raiders game, they need to prevent giving up any easy touchdowns and make the other team work to score. They cannot let the Chiefs break off big run after big run. 

As long as they can do that, I have a feeling this game is coming down to whoever wins the battle of the money situations. That'd be 3rd down conversions and redzone. The Raiders look to have an edge in these areas.

The Chiefs redzone defense has been bad. Teams are scoring touchdowns 68.75 percent of the time when they enter the redzone. This is good for 29th in the league. The Raiders need to take advantage of this. They are currently 20th in redzone offense at a 45.2 percent touchdown conversion rate. 

Offensively, the Chiefs are slightly better than the Raiders at converting in the redzone at 50 percent, but the Raiders redzone defense is much better at 18th with a 54.17 redzone touchdown percentage.

For two teams that run the ball this well, neither is very good at converting on 3rd downs. The Chiefs are 24th at 35.9 percent and the Raiders are 28th at 34.75 percent. The Chiefs are 15th on defense with a 37.1 success rate on 3rd downs and the Raiders are 5th with a 33.64 success rate.

If the Raiders can somehow force the Chiefs into enough 3rd and longs and get their pass rushing line onto the field, it could be a long day for the Chiefs.

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