The answer to the question nobody is asking – How bad are the Kansas City Chiefs believed to be – is this:
Oakland opened at minus-1 ½ in Las Vegas, and the line quickly jumped to minus-3. Oakland did that. Damn.
Now say what you will about gambling, and all four team sport commissioners said it in New Jersey last month in their hypocrifest before the state attorney general. But when a public that has seen the Raiders for the past six weeks regards the Chiefs in such a way . . . well, you get a sense of the problem’s true depth.
What problem? Whether you want to invest any time or energy in Sunday’s game.
If you’re a diehard Raider fan, this does not apply to you. You believe, and you’ve believed far longer than anyone would begrudge you. You do what you wish, because you’ve earned your enjoyment however you define it.
But for those who are thinking about it week to week, yeah, Chiefs-Raiders is a tough pull. The Raiders are 3-10, losers of their last six by an average margin of 17 points and 68 yards. The Chiefs are 2-11, losing nine of their last 10 by 12 points and 1.4 turnovers per game.
And they aren’t the only cold teams in the NFL. Arizona just lost its ninth straight, 58-0 to Seattle, and are losing 15 points and 60 yards per game. Jacksonville is also 1-9, by 10 points and 102 yards per game. Detroit has lost five straight, though the Lions have been representative in them all.
But for this week, Chiefs-Raiders is the bottom of the card by any measure, including number of seats that will have to be eaten for this to be a sellout. Nobody has that appetite.
Well, we shouldn’t say nobody. Jacksonville played in Oakland, and that game was shown to home viewers despite an announced attendance of 51,634, a good 12,000 and change below capacity. Someone bit the bullet there.
But the Chiefs are equally awful, and there is rain in the longterm forecast, as there was for the Cleveland game (speaking of crummy operations).
The Raiders are, as we have said since January, an expansion team in all but chronological terms. They hit E in October after their successive wins to – yes – Jacksonville and Kansas City, and the needle hasn’t inched back since. They are at least two years away from salvation, and are so bad now that Hue Jackson seems like Jon Gruden.
That is usually the way, though. When Tom Cable was fired, some Raider fans thought he had been wronged. The rear-view mirror looks better and better as objects in it get smaller and smaller.
Will times get better under Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen? On the basis that they are unlikely to get much worse, you can say that. But that’s the long-term view, and our view here stops at Sunday. And what we know is, Oakland is still considered less horrific than Kansas City.
So, with this tribute to the resistible force meeting the movable object, we tip our hat to the worst game on this week’s card – and that includes Detroit at Arizona, and Jacksonville at Miami, and Carolina at San Diego too.
And if you got in Raiders minus-1 ½, you could have a nice healthy middle by game time. Happy times are where you find them.