The Chiefs and Raiders rivalry is back to where it was at the start of the AFL days. But currently, these teams are not the top two in the AFC West like most people had them at throughout the year. The Chiefs are still in first place, but the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers put a hurt on Chiefs Kingdom. The Raiders have looked shaken, as Derek Carr has been banged up and the offense has been inconsistent. Oakland also heads into this game with a four game losing streak following a 2-0 start. There is a lot riding on this game for both teams. The Chiefs want to prove that their 5-0 start wasn’t a fluke, while the Raiders more than likely have to win this game to keep their season alive.
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Control the Beast
Marshawn Lynch is not as productive as he was with Seattle, but one year of retirement didn’t hardly change Lynch’s success on the football field. There’s no doubt the Chiefs defense will have to worry about a plethora of weapons found on the Raiders offense. The biggest thing to worry about though, is stopping the running game. This is not just a new problem for Kansas City after getting slashed by Le’Veon Bell once again. The Chiefs currently rank 27th in run defense, and they also finished 26th last year and 28th back in 2014. Something the Chiefs are continuing to try and figure out for sure.
Winning in the Trenches
It was very evident in the Steelers game that the Chiefs got outmuscled. The Chiefs need to find success in key situations to win in the trenches, whether it be the offensive line or defensive line. The offensive line has bounced back before in the past, and the depth has always been there. Also, there’s only so many times that Alex Smith can escape pressure before he gets rattled. In the Pittsburgh game, Smith battled enough to get them in position to win, but he seemed to be harassed since the start of the game. On the other end, the Chiefs defensive line is just not getting enough pressures. Granted, they have faced some pretty decent offensive lines, but they just aren’t pressuring the quarterback. The way they have solved Derek Carr in the past is by forcing him into bad mistakes with the added pressure. Can they get it done against a weaker Oakland offensive line then what the Raiders had last year?
Keep the Carr at the Pit Stop
If you asked general managers around the NFL who the best young quarterback is, many of them might say Derek Carr. The good thing for the Chiefs is that Carr is just 1-5 in his career against Kansas City. The only win for Carr against the Chiefs was his first career win in his rookie year of 2014. This was also a Thursday night contest, and the Chiefs lost to a Raiders team that was 0-10 and the Raiders had already fired their head coach earlier on that season. In those six games, Carr has thrown for over 200 yards only three times, and his touchdown to interception ratio is 6:5. The Chiefs always seem to design surprises for Carr in each matchup and Bob Sutton will not be afraid to unleash his hounds following the last game.
With the win on the road against the Chargers earlier this season, the Chiefs will be looking to carry their division win streak up to 13. The winning streak against Oakland is currently at 5, as well, so this is maybe a good turnaround following their first loss of the season. The Chiefs will be looking to get that bad taste out of their mouth. What better way to do that then against your biggest rival on primetime.
Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.