Photo credit: raiders.com
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
The Oakland Raiders will finish up the 2018 regular season on the road this Sunday where they will take on their most bitter AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. This Week 17 matchup will be the 117th meeting between the two clubs, with the Chiefs holding a 62-52-2 advantage over the Silver and Black and are currently riding a two-game winning streak in the series.
Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. PT from Arrowhead Stadium on CBS. Sunday’s contest will mark the fifth-straight season that the Raiders and Chiefs will conclude the regular season.
The Silver and Black finished out their 2018 home schedule in convincing fashion with a 27-14 win over another AFC West rival in the Denver Broncos on ESPN’s Monday Night Football in Week 16. With the idea that Monday night’s game could be the final home game ever for the Raiders in Oakland stuck in everyone’s mind, Raider Nation was treated to a much needed victory on Christmas Eve by its football team.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr extended his club-record streak of passes without an interception to 325, a mark that currently leads the NFL. His last interception came all the way back in Week 5 against the Chargers.
Carr completed 19-of-26 passes for just 167 yards against the Broncos, and is just 136 yards shy from his first career 4,000-yard passing season. For the season, Carr has thrown for 3,864 yards with 19 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.
Running back Doug Martin, an Oakland native, had his biggest game of the season in front of his hometown crowd carrying the ball 21 times for 107 yards and one touchdown. After Martin’s 24-yard run down the Raiders’ sideline that gave the Raiders a 14-0 lead, Martin threw up an “O” to the Oakland crowd.
Wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris provided the biggest play of the game, returning a punt 99 yards for the game’s first score in the first quarter. Harris’ punt return tied for the second-longest in NFL history with Patrick Peterson’s 99-yarder back in 2011. Robert Bailey has the NFL’s longest punt return, a 103-yarder set in 1994 per the Elias Sports Bureau.
Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Harris ran 157.5 yards on his touchdown return, the longest distance covered by any ball carrier in the last three season. The play earned Harris AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in 2018.
Defensively, the Raiders put the clamps on the Broncos in the first-half, forcing Denver to punt five times in six possessions. The Broncos missed a 58-yard field goal right before halftime, allowing the Raiders to carry a 17-0 lead into the locker room.
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 17-first-half points were the most by the Raiders since scoring 21 points in the first-half against the New York Jets in Week 2 of the 2017 season.
Broncos quarterback Case Keenum did throw two touchdowns to rookie wide receivers DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton, but also two interceptions to safeties Marcus Gilchrist and Erik Harris.
Both interceptions came in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for Oakland, who improved to 4-11 on the season. In their last six games, the Raiders are 3-3.
Oakland surrendered just 202 yards on 23-of-37 passes, marking the 10th-straight game that the Raiders have held opposing quarterbacks to less than 300 yards passing. The last quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Silver and Black was Philip Rivers (339) for the Chargers in Week 5.
After starting the season 11-2, the Chiefs (11-4) have dropped back-to-back games in recent weeks.
Last week, the Chiefs traveled to Seattle and left with a 38-31 loss to the Seahawks on NBC’s Sunday Night Football from always noisy CenturyLink Field.
With a win over the Raiders Sunday, Kansas City will win the AFC West title for the second-straight season (their third division crown in four seasons), and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
In the first meeting of the year in Week 13, the Chiefs narrowly escaped the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a 40-33 victory in what turned out to be an offensive explosion for both teams. Defense was an afterthought, with both offenses combining for 911 yards of total offense and scoring nine touchdowns.
Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in the contest with 295 yards passing. Mahomes, who completed 23-of-38 passes, connected with tight end Travis Kelce for 12 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Not to be outdone, the duo of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and tight end Jared Cook were spectacular on that Sunday afternoon in the Black Hole too, with Carr completing 29-of-38 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.
Cook hauled in seven of Carr’s passes for 100 yards and one touchdown in the game.