Keys to Victory: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Oakland Raiders will host the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, looking to add another ‘W’ to the win column. Here are four keys to victory.
Well, that wasn’t the dominant win we wanted, but we can’t be angry with a win. This week, the Oakland Raiders welcome another AFC West rival to town — the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here are some keys to victory for the Raiders.
Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) is pursued by Oakland Raiders linebacker Sio Moore (55) and safety Charles Woodson (24) on a 30-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Stop the “Raider Killer”
Raider Killer? Who?
Jamaal Charles — that’s who.
I still haven’t forgotten that five touchdown performance in 2013. Granted it was three years ago, but it is still etched into my brain, and now I expect Charles to take a screen to the house every time he plays the Raiders.
Yes, Charles is coming off an injury, but since Andy Reid joined Kansas City, they have used him in such a way that he’s played at an MVP level. Health has been the only thing that has held him back. Kansas City wouldn’t play him unless he was 100 percent, so we should expect a full dose of Jamaal on Sunday.
Also, Charles needs to be taken care of in the passing game and the run game. As I mentioned before about the screens, he can take any run to the house and deflate the crowd.
The Oakland defense would be smart to key on Charles throughout the game.
November 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Keep Alex Smith as “Captain check down”
As much as I like to think Alex Smith sucks as a QB, he’s been pretty lucky against the Raiders, with a 5-1 record since joining the Chiefs.
While Smith might not be putting up blazing numbers like other QBs in the AFC, he manages the game plan for Reid and the Chiefs offense.
The Chiefs are primarily built off the run game, quick passing sets followed by play action plays, and screens. When it is all rolling, Smith works this to a “T” with his added mobility as a plus.
So what teams do to slow the offense down is to focus on stopping the run game, putting the ball in Alex Smith’s hands and have him try and beat you. Why? Because he is very prone to taking the safe option over the big play, giving him the title “Captain check down.”
If the Raiders can get ahead on the scoreboard early and frustrate the Chiefs run game, they will have put the ball in Smith’s hands to lead the comeback, and hopefully stop the big plays. Which has been a problem for Oakland’s defense this year.
Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson (24) celebrates after sacking Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Raiders players have even been vocal about this.
This offense can’t keep pulling this defense out of games, and that was shown in the game against Atlanta. If your offense scores 25+ points at home, you should win that game.
Against the Chargers, Oakland created some turnovers early, but they still were the victims of a few big plays, which has been a theme of this defense all year.
So what’s wrong?
Communication is what we are hearing from the players, and is something Jack Del Rio echoed in a recent press conference.
A few other issues include Reggie Nelson is biting on plays, Jihad Ward shouldn’t be starting, and there has been a carousel at linebacker.
The defense is young, however, which is something many fans seem to be forgetting. Seattle’s defense was not built in a day, and Oakland’s won’t be either.
The return of Mario Edwards Jr. and (hopefully) Aldon Smith should help, but that’s not going to instantly turn this group into a top 5 defense.
I don’t care if it’s a play here and there, but the constant big plays allowed by this defense have to stop, and hopefully it starts this week.
December 24, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and free safety Charles Woodson (24) celebrate after the game against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
What’s up with this team at home? The Raiders could have put San Diego to the torch if they just scored touchdowns after the turnovers created by thee defense. However, they failed to execute and let San Diego stay in the game.
A fast start is always good but so is building up plays or making the right play calls on third down, none of which was happening in the first half against San Diego, making the Raiders offense look similar to the one in 2015.
The other fault in the San Diego game was keeping Carr safe, which the o-line didn’t do as well as they had in the first four games, and it disrupted the rhythm of the offense, especially early in the game.
I still have to credit Bill Musgrave and Del Rio for that call on 4th & 2, although the biggest drive of the game, in my opinion, was just before the half — when the Raiders kicked a field goal to just before halftime. Which was how much they won by.
The best thing to take away from last week is that the offense finished strong and made the plays it needed to to win the game, and here’s to hoping it isn’t as close this time.
If this offense can give their defense a lead and let them pin their ears back and go after the Chiefs offense, I could see another win for Oakland this week.
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