I knew the Oakland Raiders had been playing well the last couple of weeks. They hung 59 points on the Denver Broncos in Week 7 and then 33 on the Seattle Seahawks the following week. 73 points in two games is an impressive run no matter who you are.
But I didn't realize they were a top 5 offense through eight weeks. Yes, the Raiders are fourth in the NFL in points per game -- slightly ahead of the San Diego Chargers.The Kansas City Chiefs defense may have another big test on Sunday.
Much like the Chiefs, the Raiders strong offense is based in large part on the running game. The Chiefs feature a two-headed attack with Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles while the Raiders will split carries between RB Darren McFadden and RB Michael Bush. If you've got one of these running backs on your fantasy football roster you can expect them to get a decent amount of carries.
Both rushing attacks are highly effective. In fact, they're the two best in the NFL. The Chiefs average 190 yards per game good for first in the NFL while the Raiders come in at 168 yards per game at second in the NFL. Both teams run the ball more than they pass so you can imagine what this game will be like.
The Raiders are 26th against the run at the moment but I don't think that's a reflection of some of the guys on their defensive line. It'll be tough to run consistently, I think. The Chiefs are 7th against the run and have been pretty solid all year. Still, McFadden can (and has) gone off on the Chiefs before.
The Chief have a couple of players that could land on the injury report that might affect the running game. G Ryan Lilja and WR/RB Dexter McCluster missed last week's game and we're not sure if they'll be available this week. McCluster is an extra option at running back.
There's no reason to think this won't be another game where the Chiefs give Jones and Charles each 15-20 carries and let QB Matt Cassel throw it 25-30 times. The Chiefs have been pretty consistent in that regard and on the road I think they'll try to do the same thing. As for the Raiders they're much like the Chiefs in favoring the run. I tend to think they'll pass the ball more because the Chiefs run defense is solid.
However it unfolds I expect the running backs in this game to be a big part of the game. We're looking at you McFadden, Charles and Jones.