Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackThe Raiders have not had a good season, but because the Chiefs have gone into such a dreadful slump, they are now in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West. Derek Carr has a chance to grab hold of the season and drive the Raiders to the title. He is an excellent leader with the passing ability to light up the scoreboard and come through in the fourth quarter.The Chiefs have lost four games in a row and six of the last seven, and two of those losses have been to the Giants and the Jets, two of the most underwhelming teams in the league. Alex Smith was an MVP candidate in the first half of the year, but the Kansas City offense has stalled and Smith does not appear to be able to pull his team out of its malaise.
- OffenseThe Raiders have not had a stellar ground game, but they have gotten just enough from hard-nosed Marshawn Lynch and speedy Jalen Richard to take pressure off of Carr. The Raiders are relieved to get WR Michael Crabtree back for this game after his suspension was cut in half. Amari Cooper needs to step it up during the home stretch of the season.The Chiefs got off to an excellent start in Week 13 against the Jets as Smith threw a pair of TD passes to tight end Travis Kelce early in the first quarter. He also threw a pair of TDs to explosive wideout Tyreek Hill, but the Kansas City offense has largely stalled in recent weeks. The Chiefs need to get rookie running back Kareem Hunt back into a productive mode.
- DefenseThe Raiders have struggled quite a bit on defense to this point, but they have the personnel to turn things around and impose their will. The key to their defense is Khalil Mack, who is an outstanding pass rusher and also one of the most explosive hitters in the league. When Mack sets the tone, the Raiders have the ability to intimidate opponents. Ex-Niner NaVorro Bowman is a positive addition.While the Chiefs have had problems with their offense while losing six of seven games, the defense has had issues as well. The Chiefs rank 30th in yards allowed, and they have been near the bottom of the league even while they were winning. The big issue for Kansas City is a lack of team speed, and they have a tough time keeping up with faster opponents.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have been solid on special teams this year, and their best asset in this area is punter Marquette King. He has the best leg in the league and he is averaging 49.2 yards per punt. Giorgio Tavecchio has been more than adequate as a placekicker.The Chiefs may need a big play or two from their special teams if they are going to end their nightmarish slump. Hill is one of the best return specialists in the league, and he may be the fastest player in the league Harrison Butker has been an adequate kicker, but the pressure will increase from this point.
These two ancient rivals go at it one of their most meaningful games. The Chiefs lost the first meeting in Oakland, but they must win here if they want to rescue their season.