OAKLAND – The Kansas City Chiefs are one of this league's elite teams. They score in bunches. They give yards in similar fashion, but find ways to make big plays on defense.
Sounds like the Raiders' worst nightmare.
That's why odds makers gave the Silver and Black no shot. They started as 15-point underdogs at home, and the line only moved a point after Kareem Hunt got cut.
The Raiders played Kansas City far tougher than that. They were down just three points late in the fourth quarter, but couldn't halt the Chiefs star-studded offense when they had to -- a third-down stop on that decisive drive was wasted by a Fadol Brown offsides call – and ended up on the wrong end of a 40-33 result.
The Raiders fought valiantly in this one, but made too many mistakes along the way and couldn't come all the way back.
Here are three quick takeaways from a close contest at Oakland Coliseum:
Send Cook to the Pro Bowl
The Raiders don't have many threats in the passing game. Okay, let's be more direct.
They have one. It's tight end Jared Cook, and the whole world knows it. He's seeing intense coverage despite moving all over the formation, but still manages to make big plays.
That was certainly the case against Kansas City, when he had seven catches for 100 yards and one touchdown. He created consistent separation and kept the Raiders in it with several big plays. He also drew attention from others to make easier catches, proving valuable in an honorable effort to catch the Chiefs.
Cook has never made a Pro Bowl. He certainly should this season, when he ranks near the top of all statistical categories for his position.
The honor wouldn't hurt his bottom line, as he's having a career year while steamrolling to unrestricted free agency at age 31. Keeping Cook would provide a reliable point of continuity as the Raiders remake their skill position players.
Can't win losing turnover battle
The statement above is true for most teams, but it's absolute when discussing the Raiders this season. They don't have enough talent or production to overcome huge gaffes, and each running back had one against the Chiefs.
Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington all coughed it up on Sunday. The Chiefs scored 13 points off those turnovers, points the Raiders couldn't spare against such a dominant opponent.
The Raiders won the turnover battle in both of their wins, which is zero coincidence.
Offering this scoring machine more bites apple is poison, as it was for the Raiders here on Sunday afternoon in a game that was relatively close late.
Raiders have themselves a kicker
Daniel Carlson missed three field goals against Green Bay, including two in overtime, as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He never wore purple again.
The Raiders are happy about that, because the rookie has been nails in silver and black. He has hit 9-of-10 since donning the uniform in Week 8. He has hit every attempt in the past four games, including a game-winner over Arizona on Nov. 18. Hit one straight and true from 50 yards out against the Chiefs, showing he's on a roll from anywhere. He has a huge leg and is solidly accurate from near and far. The Raiders planned to anoint Eddy Pineiro after signing him as an undrafted free agent, but Carlson will have a leg up on any competition if he keeps this play up.