The Raiders enter this division showdown with the Chiefs on a two game winning streak. Oakland clawed their way back to tie themselves with the Chiefs and the Chargers for the division lead. This game will go a long way in determining the AFC West this season. The winner will have a leg up for the remaining three games.
Pressure on Defense
Since John Pagano took over the reigns as Defensive Coordinator, the defense has played really well the last two games. In weeks 12 and 13, the unit tallied eight sacks and held both opponents under 265 yards of total offense. With that said, the Giants and Broncos are not offensive juggernauts by any means, but any sign of life from this defense is a welcoming sight.
Pagano will get his first test this weekend against a Chiefs team that is averaging the sixth most points on offense. Alex Smith and the offense has struggled this year when pressure by opposing front sevens. That is exactly what Pagano and his unit will need to do again. Back in week 7, Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson touched the Raiders secondary for 63 and 64-yard touchdowns. That was due to Smith having plenty of time to sit back and find the speedsters on deep patterns. If Pagano can dial up some nice blitz packages for Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, those long plays will be tough to get.
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Derek Carr Needs to Perform in Kansas City
In their first meeting this season, the Raiders offense came out blazing, en route to thrilling 31-30 victory. The offense was explosive and finally looked like the team many were hoping for this season. That performance Derek Carr had (417 yards, 3 TD’s) needs to occur once again. Nevertheless, this time, he encounters the Chiefs in a cold Arrowhead Stadium.
Unfortunately, for Carr, Kansas City is a place that has not been friendly to the quarterback in the past. The former Fresno State star threw for less than 200 yards his last two games in Kansas City. Also, he completed only 50% of his passes in three career games in Arrowhead. As a result, the Raiders have lost all three games by an average of 10.7 points.
The franchise quarterback must take advantage of a Chiefs defense that gives up the fifth-most passing yards this season. To make matters worse for Andy Reid’s defense, corner Marcus Peters will not play this weekend (suspension). The Raiders need a great game out of Carr to finally beat the Chiefs in Kansas City.