Puncher’s Chance: Raiders rookie Jacobs can be the KO shot in Arrowhead

When Jon Gruden famously said he’s not into dreams but into f*cking nightmares on Hard Knocks it wasn’t hyperbole. It’s the stone-cold truth. Because there’s nothing quite as horrific as his Oakland Raiders’ Arrowhead Blues. 

Conventional wisdom says a Raiders victor in the Kansas City Chiefs’ house isn’t in the cards. 

Digest these nuggets, real quick: 

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is winless (0-5) in Arrowhead. 
  • He’s also 0-4 in games where the temps dip to 40 degrees or below (0-2 in Arrowhead in those conditions).
  • Chiefs boss Andy Reid is a stellar 17-3 coming off a bye (4-2 as KC head honcho).

Add in the fact in the three meetings since Gruden’s return, he’s been walloped 103-46 (a 57 point differential in the Chiefs’ favor) by his good friend Reid and you can see why the Raiders’ chances in Arrowhead are slim — at best. 

Reid orchestrates an offense spearheaded by last season’s MVP and one of the faces of the NFL’s present and future Patrick Mahomes and the plethora of speed demons at wide receiver, not to mention an an all-pro tight end. The fireworks were on display in the Chiefs coasting 28-10 win in Oakland earlier this season. 

“We better show up or they’re going to beat us by 50,” Carr said of visiting the Chiefs on Sunday in the wake of the Jets debacle. “They’re a really good football team, one of the best in the NFL.” 

Much is made of Carr’s struggles in cold weather environments and KC provides yet another one of those intriguingly steep mountains. Fair or not, supporting group or not, coach or not, the numbers aren’t kind to No. 4. 

“I don’t know,” Gruden, clearly peeved by the emphasis on weather, said when asked about Carr’s struggles and how to remedy them. “We’re not going to overanalyze it.”

And that’s it right there: Could all the pundits, media and fans be overalyzing it? 

Sure, the cards are stacked mightily against Gruden and his Raiders. Sure the Raiders defense is worse than the Chiefs woeful group. Sure the Raiders run game is every bit as domineering as the Chiefs aerial onslaught. 

Everything in the football world is seemingly against the Silver & Black. It’s so one-sided, you have to legitimately ask yourself, “Well… what if…?”

Like what if: 

  • The Jets No. 1 run defense isn’t a fluke and Gregg Williams has that group firing on all cylinders?
  • The Raiders ride phenomenal rookie Josh Jacobs and he not only carries the load by moving the chains to eat clock, but also scores touchdowns and keeps Mahomes and Co. on the sideline? 
  • Paul Guenther replicates his second-half wizardry that saw his defense blank Kansas City in that loss to Oakland? 

Stranger things happen in the NFL. 

“Hopefully, our guys, myself included, when we show up in Arrowhead … we’re ready to go. I believe we will be.”

If Carr is dialed in and ready to go and nabs a much-needed W in Arrowhead, it goes a long way to exorcise his cold-weather demons. The only way to change the narrative is to… well… change the narrative with a victory in Kansas City. 

“[I’m] in my sixth year,” Carr said, unprompted. “I’m 28 with three kids. I want to win now. They’re going to be growing up soon and wanting me to come home. I’d rather win while they’re still in school and young.”

The Raiders have a penchant for rising off the canvas this season after terrible losses. The team rose to the occasion after such defeats to the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Engaging in ass whoopery so thoroughly as the Jets handed them, it’s only right the team bounce back and smack the Chiefs. 

The Raiders have a puncher’s chance this Sunday. And as we’ve seen in the boxing ring, all it takes is one hell of a punch to override getting waxed, just look at what world heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder did to Luis Ortiz recently. He was being outboxed by Ortiz before a powerful right hand put the Cuban on the canvas looking desperately for his soul. 

The Raiders have that kind of punch. 

It comes in the form of No. 28.

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