Though the Oakland Raiders have been a good joke over the last eight years, they've bringing a defense that's playing really well. To understand the Raiders, you really have to break their season up into the first four games (1-3) and the last four games (3-1).
The basics: They're +44 on point differential, 8th in offensive yards and 9th in defensive yards.
The second half has seen a big jump from the defense. On the season the run defense is ranked 26th in the NFL right now but I'm not sure that really reflects how they're playing lately. In three of the last four games, they've given up more than 91 yards rushing just one time. This comes after they gave up over 200 yards twice in the first four games. The Chiefs rushing offense has gone over 200 yards in each of the last three games.
The rushing game is what really matters. If the Chiefs can't get that going, they're in trouble.
The Raiders held their opponent to 17 points or less in each of the last three games and have a 7:2 turnover ratio in the last four. The Chiefs are also a team that probably won't be turning it over much, if at all.
The way Matt Cassel talked about the Raiders defense, you would think he was talking about the Chiefs. "They are playing together; they are playing really good football in terms of being physical."
Chiefs head coach Todd Haley agrees with what Cassel said about the Raiders defense on Wednesday: big and physical. "Defensively, they are an active, big, physical group with a mix of young and older veteran guys that play hard, that play notably physical," Haley said Thursday.
I think this is the type of game Todd Haley is going to love. Very physical, boring, run-based game. He preaches to his team that they've gotta win these tough games on the road and, with the Raiders numbers over the last month, they're playing pretty tough.
I'm getting the feeling that the Chiefs may not be racking up 200-plus yards on the ground. The Raiders seem to be playing very well lately so it'll be interesting to see if or how much they can contain the Chiefs running backs because no one has been able to the last three weeks.