The Oakland Raiders (2-4) are headed into Kansas City to take on the Chiefs (1-5) in a crucial divisional game. The Raiders are 0-3 on the road this year, and the Chiefs have yet to win a game at home. Both teams desperately need a win to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. The Raiders can’t afford to dig themselves a deeper hole and fall down to 2-5 which would tie for last place in the West with the Chiefs. Expect an incredibly aggressive , tough football game for four quarters.
1) Get Darren McFadden going. He is one of the most explosive offensive players in the NFL, and when he gets it going he’s simply a nightmare for the opposition. He can be extremely effective coming out of the backfield as we’ve seen over the years. Since new Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp took over and incorporated the new Zone Blocking System, McFadden’s numbers have dropped significantly. He’s averaging a disappointing 3.1 yards per carry and has racked only 324 yards on 103 attempts in six games. He has ran for 100 or more yards just once this season and has just two rushing touchdowns on the year. Carson Palmer has taken a heavy load offensively for this football team and is having a very successful season. But if Greg Knapp and the offense can’t find a way to get McFadden going, this could be a long rest of the way.
2) Contain Jamaal Charles. Kansas City’s running back Jamaal Charles is an absolute monster when he gets it going. And he has proved it statistically. He has 591 yards on the ground this season on 115 carries averaging 5.1 yards per attempt and is without a question the home run hitter on this football team. Charles has the ability to destroy a defense with his speed, vision, and agility. With Brady Quinn becoming the new Chiefs starting quarterback, the Raiders shouldn’t have too much of a problem with KC’s pass attack. Oakland is coming into this game ranked 13th in run defense. They have recently done an outstanding job, particularly the defensive line, containing the run allowing only 99 yards on 41 carries in the last two games.
3) Protect Carson Palmer. Palmer has spent too much time this season picking himself off the ground. The offensive line has had a tough time throughout this year in pass protection. Luckily Carson Palmer is a tough son of a gun, because he has taken some shots. The offensive line is not providing a clean pocket for their quarterback. Watch the highlights of previous games and you’ll see the constant chaos around him. This becomes a major concern when thinking about a couple big names on Kansas City’s defensive line: Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Hali may be considered the best pass rusher on the team, however on the other side there’s Justin Houston who has been tremendous. He has six sacks this season and will be going up against the Raiders’ fill-in right tackle Willie Smith. Smith has given up a great amount of pressure this season as well as outright sacks. He will have his hands full with Justin Houston and if he lets him get consistent pressure on Palmer, it could be a long day for the silver and black.