The waves of the NFL season rolled in the playoffs for the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend and then it pulled them out for the Raiders in its undertow. Such is life in the NFL. The Raiders now are attempting to sit in the distinctive position of being the first team to go undefeated in their division and not make the playoffs since the NFL became the NFL as we know it.
The Raiders will be playing for that small part of history, pride and a non-losing record. The Chiefs will be playing for playoff seeding. Barring a Colts collapse to the Titans, the Chiefs will need a victory to secure the third seed. Most likely what this means is, if the Chiefs win they will host the Jets--if they lose, they will host the Ravens. The difference is negligible. Still, Todd Haley has said he will play his starters. To what extent is yet to be determined.
The Raiders were victorious in the first meeting with the Chiefs and it proved to be the high water mark for the Raiders season. They were 5-4 and in first place in the AFC West. They had won three-in-a-row and their run D had held the NFL leading Chiefs run game to just over 100 yards.
Since then, the Raiders have gone 2-4 and their run defense has given up over 160 yards in four of those six games.
No matter how long the Chiefs starters play, the Raiders are going to have to step up their run D to have a chance. The Raiders recent woes in stopping the run and the Chiefs proficiency at running (especially at home) appears to be a horrible matchup. Then again, the Raiders have been reeling going into most of their division games and they have won them all.
The Raiders have a couple of key injuries worth monitoring as the week goes on. Richard Seymour missed last week with a hamstring strain and Darren McFadden was dinged with what he said was a sprained ankle and Tom Cable described as turf toe.