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Chiefs-Raiders over the past decade: an analytics perspective

While the Chiefs may have gotten the better of the Raiders recently, who has historically performed better using more advanced metrics?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Oakland Raiders is as fun a rivalry as it gets in the NFL.

From the Jamaal Charles five-touchdown game — to shutting down Derek Carr at Arrowhead, to shutting down Derek Carr in Oakland — to shutting down Derek Carr... always, Chiefs fans have much to feel confident about lately when it comes to this heated rivalry.

Who has gotten the better of whom over the past decade, using metrics such as expected points added?

I went ahead and added up all the Expected Points added by both offenses when they’ve played each other, going back to 2009. The results are below.

The Chiefs offense actually hasn’t dominated Oakland this decade. They have a total EPA of around negative 12, which, among all divisional rivalries, ranks around the midway point (keeping in mind the average EPA for any play is about 0, so a positive total here means the offense has been better than average against that team, while a negative means they’ve been worse than average).

But the Chiefs defense, on the other hand, has dominated Oakland. The Raiders offense has racked up over 175 negative expected points added against the Chiefs. Among all division rivalries, that’s the third-worst in the league — just above Cleveland offense vs. Pittsburgh, and Arizona vs. Seattle.

Simply, the Raiders have been expected to score 175 fewer points against the Chiefs than an average team would be expected to score, since 2009. There are 21 games in this dataset, so that means that on an average game against the Chiefs, the Raiders offense has been expected to score 8.33 points fewer than the average team — more than a touchdown and two-point conversion. In fact, there have only been five games for the Raiders of the 21 in which their offense has scored positive total expected points (they added more value than an average team). For reference, the Chiefs have already had 11 games with a positive total expected points just this season (the lone negative value being Week 5 against the Colts).

If this isn’t bad enough, let’s do one more comparison: which quarterbacks have done the most damage to their rival (or, to their own team) since 2009?

Only two quarterbacks have gotten the better of the opposing defense in the Chiefs-Raiders matchups of the past decade — and both wore Chiefs red. Interestingly, Patrick Mahomes has added quite a few more expected points added than his counterpart Alex Smith, despite dropping back to pass just 117 times against Oakland — around 200 fewer than Smith.

Now, moving to the opposite quadrant of the graph. Carr must have nightmares on Saturday nights before Chiefs games. Any Raiders fan would, just looking at this graph.

Carr has been horrific against the Chiefs. Not only has he added 60 expected points fewer than an average QB would have been expected to add, but he has been terribly inaccurate, completing 15% fewer passes than expected based on his target depth. This is despite being one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league recently by this metric and having a positive EPA overall in 2019. Simply put, the Chiefs own Carr.

Well, there you have it. If you’re a Chiefs fan, there has been little reason to fear the Raiders recently, and this is backed up by our metrics like Expected Points and CPOE.

I, for one, am excited to watch Sunday to see if this trend continues.

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