Defense Must Step Up From The Start
As slow to start as the offense has been this season, at least they do get started. The same really can’t be said about this defense overall, unfortunately enough.
Oakland’s four wins have come despite a defense that has seemed intent on giving games away. And it’s possible that Oakland could be 5-0 if not for their defensive ineptitude. Of course, they could just as easily be a whole lot worse it not for the offense pulling their backsides out of the fire every week, but that’s another story for another time.
This is especially true up front. As bad as Kansas City’s run defense has been this season, Oakland’s has been worse. In fact, the Raiders are ranked dead last in the league in run defense. And with their own three headed beast in the backfield, the Chiefs are going to be looking to set a hard, physical tone against the Raiders.
Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware, and of course, noted Raider-Killer Jamaal Charles will all be taking turns trying to gash this Raiders run defense. Which is something teams have been able to do with regularity this season.
If the Raiders hope to turn around their defensive fortunes this season, it’s going to have to start up front. By shutting down opposing running backs and putting constant pressure on the quarterback, they’re going to provide a lot of help to a secondary battling their own issues already.
If the Raiders can come out, shut down the run, and force Alex Smith to beat them, they’ll stand a pretty good shot of walking out of that game still in sole possession of first place.