For the first time in years, Chiefs-Raiders is a game that will watched by more than the hardcore fans caught up in the historic rivalry. With both teams fighting to take the AFC West title from the San Diego Chargers, Sports Illustrated has selected the matchup as their game of the week, mostly due to the incredible rushing attack both teams have.
Kansas City averages a tremendous 5.21 yards per attempt on the ground. Only Houston (5.32 YPA) is better this year. Oakland is fourth with 4.92.
Believe it or not, these numbers put the Chiefs and Raiders on pace to post the highest averages per rush attempt in the 51-season history of each franchise.
It’s truly phenomenal production for both clubs in a league in which 4.0 YPA on the ground is the league-wide standard, year after year, and in which few teams deviate far from the mean.
Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles is the true statistical star between both teams. He’s an underappreciated and explosive force that football fans need to follow.
Charles has averaged a mind-boggling 6.0 YPA in his brief three-year career. He’s been phenomenal this year, with a historic average of 6.47 YPA (103 attempts, 666 yards). Only two running backs in history have carried the ball at least 100 times and averaged 6.5 YPA over the course of an entire season. The last was Dan Towler of the L.A. Rams, way back in 1951.
Bottom line: Charles needs more love from fans and national media.
I mentioned earlier this week that the Chiefs would be best suited running the ball 50 times, a number that was scoffed at by many. When you have a guy like Thomas Jones helping to set the tone and then Charles ripping off yardage at a historic rate, is there such a thing as too many carries? It would be an issue if you were worried about wearing out a back, however with these two splitting carries they should both stay fresh throughout the day.
As SI also notes, this is a game made for the old school football fan. In today’s pass-happy NFL, it’s rare that you come across two teams that live on the ground the way the Chiefs and Raiders do.
I haven’t looked forward to a game against Oakland this much in years.