The Oakland Raiders are coming off their most complete performance in the last several season against the San Diego Chargers. This week, the Raiders travel to sea of red in Arrowhead Stadium to take on their hated rivals Kansas City Chiefs. Recently, the Raiders have held upper hand in the rivalry with eight wins in their last 11 contests, including six straight win in Kansas City. This year looks different with the Chiefs being one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
The Chiefs hold the all-time series lead against the Raiders with a record 53-48-2. The Chiefs hold lead in the series in games in which they are home team at 29-24-1, but the Raiders have recently made themselves at home with six straight wins in Arrowhead.
This has all the makings of an old fashion AFC West slugfest, as the Chiefs sit atop the division tied with the Broncos and the Raiders are on the upswing following a solid win over the Chargers. The Raiders are going to have their hands full with a hostile crowd that has been renewed with the newfound success of the team and the number one scoring defense in the league. What will it take for the Raiders to conquer their rivals on the road?
The road has not been kind to the Raiders lately with nine losses in their last 10 road games. The lone road win over that stretch was over the Chiefs last October. That was a different Chiefs teams at the time, as that team finished with the worst overall record in the NFL. The Chiefs had Matt Cassel at the helm, and Jamaal Charles had four yards on five carries.
The Chiefs have a solid home-field advantage, as they have been one of the top teams at home in NFL history. The fan base is attempting to set the world record for crowd noise, which was set earlier this year in week by the Seahwaks fan base in week two. That type of noise can derail even the most experienced of teams, and the Raiders have a relatively inexperienced roster. That type of environment can play havoc on them.
What they do have going for them is their recent success against the Chiefs. The Raiders have six straight wins in Arrowhead and they can use that experience to build off of as they head into Sunday’s contest.
The truly difficult aspect is overcoming the Chiefs top-ranked scoring defense, which is averaging under 12 points allowed during the first five weeks. The Chiefs rank as the fourth best defense against the pass, but only 21st against the run. The caveat to that stat is that they only allow 113 yards allowed on the ground. This will be the toughest defense that the Raiders will be facing in the early part of the season.
The Raiders are going to lean heavily on Terrelle Pryor, as he was spectacular against the Chargers last week. Pryor went 18-13 for 221 yards and two touchdowns against Chargers, as the Raiders pulled away early. The Raiders would like to be more efficent on the ground, as they only averaged 3.7 yards per carry against San Diego. They will look to exploit the Chiefs run defense, which has been the weakest link in that chain.
The Raiders need to control the tempo in this game. If they can maintain possession and limit the Chiefs ability to pull ahead will take the crowd out of it by not giving them much to cheer for. The Chiefs also have not as efficient on offense recently and have suffered a few turnovers in recent games.
This game has all the making of a low scoring, close fought battle. Neither team has the offensive strength to blow out the opposing offense, as this game will come down to turnovers. The Raiders will need a couple of turnovers to have a chance to pull ahead and take the crowd out of the game and make it a non-factor. If the Raiders allow the Chiefs to get any momentum and get the crowd buzzing then this could get ugly for a young, inexperienced offense.