Raiders ripe for Thursday night win

Some Raiders fans would happily take the seven points that Vegas has for Thursday night’s game, perhaps wondering why Kansas City isn’t favored by more.

But there are reasons to believe the Oakland Raiders might get their first win.

First and foremost, the Raiders are at home on a short week. That may not sound like a big deal, but it means Kansas City has had just one day — Tuesday — with a full practice before they flew to the Bay Area on Wednesday.

These practices are where strategies for the upcoming matchup are installed.

Home teams are 6-4 on Thursday nights this year, and many of these games have been high scoring.Even the New York Giants were able to rout the Washington football team.

This plays into the Raiders’ hand with the Chiefs’ strength being defense and many of their players not well rested.

The Raiders have been able to get their offense clicking against division foes, and even their porous yet improving defense was able to force two consecutive turnovers off Peyton Manning while they Broncos were in town.

With little time to watch film and practice certain techniques, the Chiefs are at a disadvantage.

Moreover, two Chiefs wide receivers are out, and rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas might have to fill in as a primary pass-catcher.

What’s more, Alex Smith has yet to connect with a receiver for a touchdown through 10 games this season, allowing Oakland’s defense to hone in even more on Jamaal Charles.

The flip side is that the Raiders will be without three defensive backs, T.J. Carrie, Jonathan Dowling and Carlos Rogers have all been ruled out.

Nonetheless, Oakland will almost surely be able to run the ball more than they have in the past few weeks. They’ll also be using a player without much tape for Kansas City to study in running back Latavius Murray.

Murray broke two long runs last week against the Chargers and has fresh legs — far from the other two options, Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew.

Oakland is a team that is built to compete in the AFC West, as seen in two close games versus the Chargers, and should be able to keep up with Kansas City.

Offensive production will be the difference maker in this one. Can the Raiders string together drives instead of having a few explosive plays spread through different times of a long game?

There’s not a whole lot of evidence that points that way.

There is, though, a quarterback looking to break through a stalemate in his progression as a rookie and a track record of success against tough defenses.

In his only start under the Coliseum twilight, Derek Carr shredded the Seattle Seahawks during the final week of preseason.

Preeseason football is generally worthless, though it’s worth noting that he was up against the bulk of Seattle’s first-team defense and showed no fear throwing at cornerback Richard Sherman.

Fear wasn’t warranted, either, since he shredded him with every attempt.

They’re also a team that has succeeded when throwing deep, Carr posting his best quarterback rating by direction (104.5) when throwing towards the right side of the field more than 20 yards.

The Chiefs also run a 3-4 defense, which historically, surrenders more aerial yards than a 4-3 defense.

Carr could have a coming-out on national television, when no other games are on and while playing a team he’ll see plenty over the years.

If the Raiders can get their ground game churning, they can win this one by a touchdown or more. If they can’t, though, it’ll be a long night for Oakland’s linebackers.

Raiders win 31-10.


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