Oakland Raiders: Matchups to Exploit Against Chiefs

Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) catches a touchdown pass over Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 56-31. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a rivalry steeped in history and seems to be gaining steam again.  What must the Oakland Raiders do to take down the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014?

Denarius Moore against Husain Abdullah

There are a lot of doubts surrounding the situation regarding wide receiver Denarius Moore and whether he has a long-term future with the Raiders.  Still, for the time being, he remains a key part of their corps and against Kansas City could prove quite valuable on deep throws.  One area of the Chiefs’ defense that was exposed somewhat last year was their ability to cover deep.  Moore is known for his speed, and could be used in that fashion to attack their safeties, particularly Husain Abdullah, a veteran journeyman.  The key will be whether the Raiders’ offensive line can provide that kind of pass protection.

Justin Tuck against Eric Fisher

On the other side of the ball, Oakland has a great opportunity to attack a Chiefs’ offensive line that is undergoing quite a bit of turmoil.  Three of their key players left via free agency and their right tackle Eric Fisher was moved to the left side.  Not that it will solve anything.  Fisher struggled often last season almost to the point of being bench.  His greatest issues were with stronger defensive ends, showcasing the one knock on him coming out of Central Michigan.  That is good news for recent free agent addition Justin Tuck, who has made a success of himself for years thanks to his upper body strength.  Putting him up against Fisher could yield great results for the Silver and Black.

Marquette King against De’Anthony Thomas

Special teams normally doesn’t hold sway over an NFL game, but in the case of these two teams it could have a prominent impact.  Kansas City selected Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas in the draft with the idea he would become an offensive weapon.  However, it was also his value as a return man that drew their attention.  Already he’s listed as the primary punt returner and the tape shows he is dangerous if given a chance.  That is why the Raiders must make sure to do everything possible to keep it away from him.  The easiest way to do that is by having punter Marquette King do his thing, which was averaging just shy of 49 yards per punt.  The key will be his hang time and direction, both of which should improve as he gains experience.