Tonight is going to be a bit of a dilemma for a lot of Raiders fans. You know you should root against the division rival Chiefs. But that means rooting for the Tuck Rule, Snowjob, Spygate, Deflategate, asterisk quotation fingers dynasty, Authoritarian ruler Super Bowl ring gifting, so-called Patriots.
The whole thing is enough to make your stomach turn. But there is a solution.
A giant sink hole!
No. Not that.
Yeah, that’s it.
The Raiders will, of course, face the Chiefs twice. They will face the Patriots at least once when they meet in Mexico City in week 11 and potentially twice if they can live up to expectations and meet up in the playoffs.
Tonight you can watch these two teams face off, free of the distraction of the Raiders or any other team playing and get a good look at both of them.
The Patriots will undoubtedly seek out and expose the Chiefs’ weaknesses and the Chiefs are good enough to expose a few of the Patriots’ weakness as well.
From what I can tell, the Chiefs’ biggest weaknesses are mostly on the offensive side of the ball. Outside of tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs don’t have a lot of firepower. Alex Smith is...well Alex Smith. They lost leading rusher Spencer Ware to injury leaving rookie Kareem Hunt to share carries with Charcandrick West behind a subpar interior offensive line. Tyreek Hill is an electric athlete, but the receiving corps is pretty pathetic overall.
The defending took-advantage-of-a-stupid-Falcons-team-that-just-needed-to-run-the-ball-up-28-3 Patriots spent the offseason actually getting better. They traded for Brandin Cooks and signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore, while retaining Dont’a Hightower and Malcolm Butler. The only real loss so far is the loss of leading receiver, Julian Edelman. But the Patriots always seem to be able to plug and play receivers, so I don’t expect it to hurt them much.
Everyone wants to see the Patriots taken down a few pegs. But how does a Raiders fan possibly root for an AFC West rival to be the team to do it?
Whichever team loses, it may not do the Raiders a whole lot of favors. They will likely need both teams to lose to help their playoff seeding and potential playoff match-up. On one hand it seems a bit early to be talking playoffs. On the other hand, in the NFL every game counts.
There is also the common opponent element. Should the Raiders end up in a tie with either of these teams come the playoffs, one tiebreaker is common opponents. That could apply to either the Chiefs or the Patriots.
I know the inclination of many of you will be just to see both team beat each other up. I can’t stop you from feeling that way. All I can say is it probably sounds good right up until you see it happen and then you might feel a little guilty. It’s bad Juju. Injuries are part of the game, but best to be safe and not wish for players to be injured.
So...yeah. Grab some grub and a beverage, enjoy the return of football that counts, be good students of the game, and we’ll all get through this together.