With their longest slide of the year behind them, the Kansas
City Chiefs can now focus on clinching their first playoff berth in
The Chiefs can secure a postseason spot on the road Sunday while
trying to hand the Oakland Raiders a fourth consecutive defeat.
Kansas City (10-3) ended its three-game losing streak and
regained some swagger with a 45-10 road rout against reeling
Washington last Sunday.
“We still have it,” defensive end Tyson Jackson told the Chiefs’
official website. “There’s a long road ahead of us and we still
have to get some wins, but it’s good to have the mojo going into
the rest of the season.
“It’s good for our confidence and we can build from the momentum
to hopefully keep this going the rest of the season.”
A victory or tie at Oakland (4-9) would secure a playoff berth.
The Chiefs could also punch their ticket if Miami suffers a loss or
ties against New England on Sunday or Baltimore falls or ties at
Detroit on Monday night.
“It’s a big deal,” said receiver Dexter McCluster, who returned
a punt 74 yards for a touchdown against the Redskins. “Having a
chance to play in the postseason, you know, that’s what we play
for. Let the chips fall where they may right now.”
What Kansas City hopes to do is build on a solid all-around
The Chiefs allowed an average of 34.3 points and 371.0 passing
yards while losing twice to Denver and at home against San Diego,
but gave up 257 total yards to the Redskins and sacked Robert
Griffin III five times.
Jamaal Charles rushed 19 times for a season-high 151 yards with
a TD and caught a scoring pass from Alex Smith, who has thrown half
of his 18 touchdowns in the last four contests.
In addition to McCluster’s TD return, Quintin Demps took a kick
back 95 yards for a score.
“I think that there are ups and downs in the National Football
League,” coach Andy Reid said. “I think you need to learn how to
handle them and you can’t get too high for the highs and you can’t
get too low for the lows.
“When you go through a three-game skid, that’s not easy in the
National Football League against good teams. You have to trust
yourself; you have to trust the guys around you that you’re going
to fix the problem and that you’re going to come to work with a
purpose and I thought the guys did that.”
Charles has averaged 6.9 yards per carry while gaining 359 and
running for four TDs in the last three contests.
He recorded 128 total yards and ran for two scores as Kansas
City snapped a three-game series skid with a 24-7 victory over
Oakland on Oct. 13. The Chiefs had nine sacks on Terrelle Pryor and
intercepted him three times, including one returned for a TD.
Though Pryor saw relief time during last Sunday’s 37-27 road
loss to the New York Jets, Matt McGloin is expected to make his
fifth straight start. Pryor, who has started eight games, could
also see time.
McGloin threw two TDs with an INT for a Raiders offense that
came to life after trailing 20-3 at halftime last weekend.
Though Oakland is in the midst of its 11th straight season
without a winning record, the team feels confident it can at least
avoid a second consecutive 4-12 finish.
“I think we’re a lot closer,” embattled coach Dennis Allen said.
“Obviously the record doesn’t say so. We all recognize that at the
end of the day this is a production business. We understand that
you are what your record says you are. But I also know there’s a
lot of areas where this football team has improved.”
With Charles coming to town, the Raiders need to improve a rush
defense that’s allowed 287 yards on the ground to Dallas and New
York in the last two weeks. They yielded an average of 99.1 in the
first 11 contests.
Oakland has also allowed Tennessee, the Cowboys and Jets to go
24 of 44 on third down during the three-game skid.
“I do think the defense is worn down, but we have to go out and
we have to tackle and we have to do the things we have to do to be
able to get off the field,” said Allen, whose team also is trying
to avoid a third straight home defeat. “It’ll be something that
we’ll continue to work on.”
It’s uncertain if running backs Darren McFadden (ankle) and
Rashad Jennings (concussion) will play after both missed last
weekend’s contest. Fullback Marcel Reese fared well in their place,
rushing for a career-high 123 yards and a TD on 19 attempts against
McFadden ran 16 times for 52 yards at Kansas City in October
after he gained 224 on 59 carries in the two 2012 meetings.
Looking for its first season sweep of the Raiders since 2006,
Kansas City has dropped two of three at Oakland since winning seven
McCluster will sit out Sunday after a small cut on his ankle
turned into an infection following last week’s game against
Washington. The Chiefs were concerned it was MRSA, but trainer Rick
Burkholder said tests came back negative for the serious strain of
staph infection. McCluster is being treated with antibiotics.