Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Kansas City Chiefs

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Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Maximize the Running Game’s Impact

Without starting center Rodney Hudson, the Raiders’ running game has been absolutely grounded. It’s been quite a fall for the Raiders and Latavius Murray – especially given that just a few weeks ago, Murray was leading the AFC in rushing and was sixth in the league overall. He’s dipped to second in the AFC and seventh overall, which is pretty remarkable considering how bad Oakland’s running game has been the last three weeks.

Over the last three games, Murray has rushed for a paltry 48, 28, and 59 yards.

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Whether teams are simply keying on Murray and are expending more effort to stop him or not having Hudson in the lineup is having that big of an impact on the running game, the Raiders just haven’t been able to run for anything the last three weeks.

They need to get Murray back on track this week. The Raiders may catch a break if Justin Houston is unable to go, but OC Bill Musgrave needs to do a better job of attacking the edges and not trying to run straight through a line that has Tony Bergstrom at the center spot. Both Murray and Taiwan Jones – should he be able to play – both have the speed to get to the corner. Murray has power to break tackles Jones doesn’t have. But both can be effective in stretching out that defense and getting to the edge.

If they can get any semblance of a running game going, that’s going to open up the play action pass. The linebackers will have to respect the running game and won’t be able to sit on the short and intermediate pass routes. That will help open things up over the middle and allow Carr to get Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera more involved in the passing game.

But Oakland absolutely, positively must be more effective running the ball than they have been in a month.

Next: Keep it Humming