For only the second time in franchise history, the Kansas City Chiefs have started their season 5-0. They’re the first team to ever start 5-0 after losing at least 14 games the previous season. It’s been quite the turnaround.
The defense looks unstoppable, only allowing a league leading 11.6 points per game and are ranked 7th in total defense. They’ve been timely and opportunistic, forcing crucial turnovers at key moments in games as they showed last week in the 4th quarter against the Titans. PFF has the Chiefs with the best secondary as well, you can check that story out right here!
The offense has, at times, looked terrible but always seems to show up when they’re needed most. Alex Smith isn’t the best quarterback in the league, we know, but it’s very clear that the guys who surround him love to go to battle with him. The offense has come up with crucial drives in every single game they’ve played, including their 4th quarter rally to take the lead and ultimately win the game against the Titans.
The Chiefs are playing together as a family. For those of you that have never played football, having a family like atmosphere can mean the world for a football team. It’s about building a trust for one another and knowing when to lift each other up when one is struggling. So far, the Chiefs have displayed this each week and they look to continue it this week against their oldest rival, the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders are the first of a three game home stand and the Raiders are no cake walk. Lets take a look at the numbers.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS:
It’s incredible to think and even say, that the Chiefs have not beaten the Raiders in Arrowhead stadium since 2006. In 2010, Kansas City had already been crowned AFC West champs and had a 7-0 record at home before they hosted the Raiders in the final regular season game. Oakland came in and manhandled that Chiefs team and spoiled our undefeated season at home. It was a terrible sight to see.
This year is a different story and if the Chiefs want to continue their success at home and break the Raiders win streak, they’re going to have to contain quarterback, Terrell Pryor.
Pryor has been exactly what Oakland needed in order for them to stay competitive this season. The Raiders offensive line play hasn’t been very stable, surrendering 18 sacks, seven of which came in one game where Matt Flynn had to start. With Flynn in, the Raider offense could not extend plays and Flynn stood back there and took a beating.
Pryor’s ability to scramble and extend plays, is what’s keeping their offense moving. Not only is Pryor their leading passer with 845 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, he’s also their leading rusher. Oakland has had a hard time trying to find a solution for injury machine running back, Darren McFadden.
While Pryor has definitely provided a spark for this Oakland offense, their numbers really don’t jump out at you. They’re 23rd in points (19.6) 22nd in yards (330.2) but are a top ten rushing team with an average of 130 yards per game. Pryor is obviously the biggest part of that. It will be important for the Chiefs to wrap up when they do get to him in the back field. It will be equally important for the secondary to stay with their receivers down field when Pryor is able to escape the pressure.
The Raider defense isn’t playing so well either, despite their pretty good showing against the Chargers in the middle of the night Sunday. They come into Arrowhead rated the 17th best defense, surrendering 21.6 points per game and giving up an average of 364 yards. They’re also having a hard time generating turnovers with just 3 interceptions, two of which came against Phillip Rivers last week.
The Chiefs will need to continue to protect the football and sustain long drives.
MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:
Believe it or not, I’m going to mention their beer gutted kicker, Sebastian Janikowski. Sebass has played 24 career games against the Chiefs connecting on 51-of-59 field goals (86.4 %), including 8-of-12 from 50-plus yards. He’s killed us over the years and there is nothing that I would love to see more than the Chiefs block one of his attempts.
Running back, Darren McFadden is being listed as a game time decision with a hamstring. When he’s healthy, he’s a dynamic player in this league but injuries have seriously put a black eye on his career. He has missed at least three games in each of his five previous seasons in the NFL. Entering this year, McFadden had played in only 19 of the team’s previous 33 games. He’s an injury machine and even if he does play this week, it’s hard to predict how effective he will be.
Raiders wide receiver, Denarius Moore, has become quite the thorn in the Chiefs side over the past few seasons. In four career games vs. Kansas City, Moore has caught 15 passes for 240 yards and two TDs, including a five-catch, 96-yard one-TD performance against the Chiefs last year in Arrowhead. This season though, the Chiefs have one of the best secondaries in the league and will be looking to shut Moore down. Like I mentioned earlier, it will be important for the Chiefs secondary to stay glued to their man down field because of Pryor’s escape ability.
Safety Charles Woodson had quite the game last week for the Silver and Black. So good, that he earned a nomination for AFC defensive player of the week with his four tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery touchdown in their victory over the Chargers. Back in the day, Woodson used to be a dominating force for the Raiders secondary, especially against the Chiefs. Woodson has played in 14 career games vs. Kansas City and has totaled 70 tackles, six interceptions for 156 yards and two TDs. Surely he will be over the top of Dwayne Bowe most of the time because of his match-up with rookie corner DJ Hayden.
Kansas City is a double digit favorite in this game with the early line at 10. The last time the Chiefs were double digit favorites at home was the final regular season game of 2005 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Chiefs are favored with good reason. They’re surrendering the fewest amount of points (11.6) and are playing at home with a crowd that is trying to break the loudest stadium mark in decibels when “The Guiness Book of World Records” comes to town this week.
With a rockin’ Arrowhead, the Chiefs should be able break the Raiders win streak there and Andy Reid should get his first win against them as the Chiefs head coach.
The game starts at 12 pm CDT on CBS.