It's Raider Week!!!! Time to renew our age-old rivalry against that team we all love to hate. And this year, it's EXTRA special. Why? Because the game actually MEANS something this year. For the last few years (really most of the last decade) these games have meant nothing other than bragging rights for the "We're not the worst team in the division!" award. Not exactly something to get crazy psyched about.
But this year? We're 5-2 and at the top of our division. Oakland is 4-4 and our closest competition, and is also coming off two consecutive blowouts. With this game, we can extend our lead in the division from OK to considerable, and they can pull right up next to us. The stakes are higher than they've been in years.
So naturally, we're all going to be talking smack to some Raider fans this week. So I thought I'd dust off the old "Arguing With..." series, rename it, and see what happens.
Many of you know the drill here. These are some simple an practical fact-based answers to the arguments that you're likely to hear from that guy who insists that the Raiders are going to destroy our Chiefs this Sunday. Knowing these things off the top of your head will save you some time when people come at you with simply wrong statements about the upcoming game.
Argument #1- "The Chiefs barely beat the Bills! They've had no real competition all year! We're going to POUND you guys!"
I've heard this one a few times and I have to shake my head every time. Here's the bottom line for us. We've played teams with a combined 21-32 record. That's admittedly not great. Of course, 25-28 isn't exactly light-years better is it? For those who don't know, that's the win-loss record for the teams Oakland has played. So they've played a slightly tougher schedule, and we've earned a better record. Wouldn't you think that cancels out?
And while we're on the subject of "barely beating" people and/or having a "weak schedule", let's be clear; the Chiefs have lost to a couple of upper-tier teams. Everyone else they've beaten. The Raiders, on the other hand, have lost to powerhouses like the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals. I'm pretty sure a close game against a bad team isn't as bad as an actual LOSS to a bad team. Maybe. But then, I'm weird like that...
Argument #2- The Chiefs are going to get run all over this Sunday! Darren McFadden is like no one they've faced, and your defense is going to be exposed for the frauds they are!"
OK, I'll give credit where credit it due. McFadden has looked very, very good this year. He's averaging 5.5 YPC and over 110 yards per game. That is incredible. He's looked like a great all-around back rather than merely some speed demon. Props to him for that, and that's great for those who cheer for the Silver and Black.
Here's the thing, though. This isn't exactly our first rodeo with a top-tier back. Or our second. Or our third. Take a look at the lineup of RB's we've faced. Matthews. Hillis. Gore. Addai. Foster. MJD. Jackson/Spiller.
I'll throw out Addai, Hillis, Matthews, and Jackson/Spiller as average to maybe a little above average backs. But it should be noted that none of them came close to 100 yards against us (Matthews came the closest with 78). But like I said, average backs. let's take a look at Gore, Foster, and MJD.
Those three are, without a doubt, upper-tier backs. They're ranked #2 (Foster), #5 (Gore), and #9 (MJD) in the league. That's a pretty scary group to face. So how did we fare against them?
-Foster- 71 yards on 18 carries (3.9 YPC, 1.8 yards under his average)
-Gore- 43 yards on 15 carries (2.9 YPC, 1.3 yards under his average)
-MJD- 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 YPC, 1.1 yards under his average)
Those numbers speak for themselves, but I'll speak for them anyway. We haven't given up 100 yards rushing to a single running back this year. Not one. Zero. None. The number that's one less than one. The number that times any number equals... zero. No RB has even come within 20 yards of it. And we've faced some very, very good backs.
Does that mean that we'll be able to contain McFadden? Nope, not for sure. But what it DOES mean is that our running D is no fraud, and it's ridiculous to think that McFadden is an automatic to torch us. Maybe he will, but he'd be the first.
Argument #3- "Your rushing game isn't going to be so automatic against our D. We're gonna make Matt Cassel have to beat us, and there's no way that'll happen."
for the record, I've even been told by 3 separate Raiders fans that we'll be lucky to get 100 yards on the ground. And many others are predicting a subpar day for us rushing the ball. We just looked at the Chiefs running D, let's look at the Raiders...
Man, if you look at the last two weeks that Oakland rushing D has been impressive. They've held their last two opponents to 75 and 47 (47!) yards rushing. Nice! But wait, before we crown them a shutdown running D...
Those opponents, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, currently rank 32nd (DEN) and 27th (SEA) in the NFL in rushing YPG. So while Oakland fans point out those games and say "Wow!", it should be noted that they actually gave up MORE yards on the ground to Denver than they average per game (67.3)! Those aren't exactly great rushing teams. Or good rushing teams. As a matter of fact, they are God-awful rushing teams.
So what has Oakland done against better rushing teams? Well, it hasn't been pretty. For the sake of fairness, how have they done against the same elite backs the Chiefs have faced, Arian Foster and Frank Gore?
They gave up 133 yards to Foster on 16 carries (8.2 YPC) and 149 yards to Gore on 25 carries (5.9 YPC). One doesn't need to be a math major to realize that is... how should I say this? Much, much, much, much worse than the Chiefs performed against those backs.
Chris Johnson also torched Oakland's D to the tune of 142 yards on 27 carries (5.3 YPC). In fact, the only game against an elite rusher this year that Oakland held up even decently was against Steven Jackson, who they held to 75 yards on 19 carries (3.9 YPC). Not bad, but it was the exception rather than the rule.
Need me to make it a little more clear? OK, fine. Even after two performances in which they gave up an average of 61 yards on the ground, Oakland's rushing defense is STILL rated 26th in the league! Even after those two games (which, let's face it were against two of the absolute worst rushing teams in football), they're giving up over 125 YPG! That means that prior to facing bottom-feeding rushers, they were giving up an utterly ridiculous 149 YPG on the ground.
That is NOT the mark of a good, consistent rushing defense.
Argument #4- "The Chiefs offense isn't balanced enough to take advantage of the Raiders defense. We'll make you one-dimensional by taking away your running game. Then it's over, because Matt Cassel sucks and we'll pick him off AT LEAST twice!"
So many things wrong with this argument, so little time. Look, if you think you're going to stop the Chiefs from running the ball... you're probably wrong. Can't say for sure, but probably.
We're running for 190 YPG. Think about that stat for a moment. That's our average.
When we played San Francisco they were considered a very good run defense. Same with Houston. A big reason both are "middle of the pack" statistically now is because we ran all over them. We've gone over 200 yards 3 games in a row.
We've got a runner that's averaging 6.5 YPC. That's a yard more than Oakland's "elite" (if you ask any Raider fan) RB. So if he's elite, what does that make someone who is better? Beyond elite? Uber elite? Jamaal Charles is playing football head and shoulders above any running back in the NFL when he has the ball this year.
How about this... our second best rusher is ranked #14 in the league. And he's not even our best guy. That's how good our rushing attack is.
Our rushing attack is so good that our WORST game rushing the ball is better than what 19 of the 32 NFL teams average per game. Think about that. Our absolute worst game was better than more than half the league gets on an average day.
That's how good our running game is. I won't say for sure that you won't stop it, but the odds of it happening aren't good.
As far as Cassel goes... well, I'll stay away from that one, as it's a point of contention among Chiefs fans. But let me tell you this; if you're counting on Cassel to give you a couple of turnovers and help you win, you're likely going to walk away disappointed. Cassel's thrown 3 picks (to 10 TDs) this year, fewer than all but 3 QBs that have played in equal or more games. And he's fumbled the ball exactly once (which we recovered). He may not be a great QB, but he hasn't been turning the ball over. It would be a mistake to count on him doing so all of a sudden.
Well there you have it, a few simple answers based on nothing but a few facts that should helpful the next time you find yourself victim to a "you guys are going DOWN!" argument. Hope they help, and go Chiefs!
***disclaimer***- I have no idea who will win Sunday. I tend to think we will, but then, I'm a homer. And any visiting Raider fans, know that I respect the improvement your team has shown. I just think we're better. Maybe after the game Sunday I'll look foolish with these thoughts... but all I know is what I've seen so far this season. And that's what I've based these thoughts on. I'm very excited to see both Oakland and KC getting better, because I want that rivalry to get back to where it belongs... as the best, fiercest rivalry in the NFL.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.