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The chance at the number one overall pick in the draft has passed the Oakland Raiders by after winning two of the last three games. The only thing left to play for this season is the chance to hinder their division rival’s seeding in the upcoming playoffs.

The Raiders travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs in what is a huge game for the home side. A Chiefs win clinches the number one seed and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. If the Chiefs lose and the Los Angeles Chargers win, Kansas City will fall to the fifth seed in the AFC and have to play on the road in the wild card round.

This Chiefs team is limping into the final week of the season. They have lost three of their last five games against the Rams, Chargers, and Seahawks, all playoff teams. Their two wins over that span have come by the narrowest of margins at home to the Ravens by three and away to the Raiders by a touchdown.

This is where the Raiders come into the equation again. The Week 13 game in Oakland against Kansas City was a turning point for the Raiders this season. They relaxed and played football for each other. This game is a huge hurdle for the Chiefs to overcome. They cannot take this final regular season game lightly.

Despite having one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs cannot seem to put teams away. During this telling five-game stretch, the Chiefs nearly blew a double-digit lead in Oakland and have seen leads in the other four games all evaporate. They don’t know how to put teams to bed.

Take last week against the Seahawks. If you put enough pressure on Mahomes and the defense, they crumble. They won’t make it very far into the playoffs with performances they have shown recently. They produced a great offensive game in the 54-51 loss to the Rams, but yielding 54 points is not how playoff football is played.

Over the last few games, Derek Carr has shown a bit more poise and the Raiders have played much better around him. Jared Cook was well covered last week and struggled to get a hold of the football. Expect him to go big in his final chance to secure a new contract for the 2019 season and beyond.

Running Back Jalen Richard finally got himself on the score sheet in 2018 with a rushing touchdown last week. He too is looking to secure his future for 2019 after having a standout season as a versatile running back along with Doug Martin in the absence of Marshawn Lynch.

Expect the Raiders to be relentless in their pursuit of victory on Sunday. If they push the Chiefs enough, they will fold, and the away team can leave Kansas City with another morale-boosting victory

Sports Al Dente 2019

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