NFL Week 6 Preview: Raiders @ Chiefs
Next, our fourth installment in our Week 6 Preview series: the 2-3 Oakland Raiders are on the road this week against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. After a ghastly 2-14 season last year, the Chiefs are playoff/Super Bowl contenders. The Raiders are seeking a playoff berth with a third-year quarterback and pure cussedness.
Raider Nation went wild late Sunday night as their team put a hurting on the visiting San Diego Chargers. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was back in fine form from a concussion during the Denver Broncos loss two weeks prior, and everyone at O.com Stadium was happy to see him.
Except, maybe the Chargers defensive line.
Pryor put on an excellent display of passing and rushing Sunday night that brought the Raiders their second win of the season. Hyped and ready to do battle again, the entire team is laser focused on the upcoming game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raiders have a 6-0 record at Arrowhead, where Chiefs fans are attempting to break the world record for noise (136.6 decibels) this Sunday. The Raiders have a two-pronged approach to the noise at Arrowhead.
1. Do not let it distract them
2. Do not give KC fans reasons to cheer.
To accomplish their second objective, the Raider defense has to jump on the Chiefs’ offense and keep them off the field. Then, Pryor and his offense have more time to get into the end zone and build a lead.
Free safety Usama Young puts the defensive game plan simply: “We have to set the tone. We have to be physical (and) take the ball away.” The Raiders had their first turnover of the season against the Chargers, and got three more over the course of the game. Seeing it all come together so well has the Raiders in a place they always want be: energized and ready to do it again.
As for KC’s quarterback, Raiders’ defensive coordinator Jason Tanver coached Smith as a 49er. He plans to implement a defensive strategy that takes away his options down field and smothers him in the pocket. “He can make throws…on the run,” Tanver said, and will have his D-line give Smith alternate looks and try to confuse and distract him.
For the Chiefs, there are two things that have been said and will continue to be said all season: Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. Not to belabor the point but this time last year, the Chiefs had only won one game. The season belongs to Coach Reid, and his brilliance in acquiring Smith has sealed the deal for five straight weeks.
To get to 6-0, the Chiefs have to contain Pryor. He leads the Raiders with 229 rushing yards and that is a mind-blowing stat for a quarterback, not to mention a quarterback with just seven games’ worth of NFL experience. Raiders are a proud rushing team, averaging 130.8 yards per game on the ground, so Chiefs defensive line is looking to plug any and every hole Pryor and Darren McFadden try to squeeze through on Sunday.
The Chiefs also plan to “plaster” the Raiders’ receivers down field, leaving Pryor nowhere to go with the ball. The second half of that strategy, then, is getting to Pryor before he can dust off a first down or reset and launch the ball to an open-ish receiver.
KC Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles is a double threat unto himself, with 92 passes caught for 397 yards, average 4.3 yards per carry with three touchdowns. He also has 28 carries for 250 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per carry and another two touchdowns. Dexter McCluster’s numbers show he is far more proficient at catching than rushing with -3 yards on the ground, but has 11 through the air for 106 yards, averaging 9.6 per catch.
Keeping both of these quarterbacks contained and off balance is crucial for either side. Maintaining a defensive presence cannot be stressed enough but when it comes down to it, the Chiefs have more going for them than their record. Despite his emerging talent, Pryor still has a learning curve, so we will put out money on Kansas City remaining unbeaten in Week 6.
Written by: Brandi Tasby