The Oakland Raiders return home on a three game losing streak and will look to end it against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL in the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Chiefs ran away in the second half thanks to three Terrelle Pryor interceptions, turning a 7-7 halftime score into a dominant 24-7 victory. The main difference in this game, of course, is Matt McGloin at quarterback in place of Pryor.
McGloin has proven to be far less turnover prone than Pryor and he will have to keep that going against one of the league’s most opportunistic defenses. The Chiefs lead the NFL in turnover differential thanks to the pass rushing duo of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Their pressure allows the secondary to take advantage of mistimed throws and guys like Eric Berry and Quentin Demps have feasted on those all season.
Rashad Jennings has returned to practice and Marcel Reece is coming off an outstanding game last week but the Raiders struggled to get anything going on the ground in the last meeting. If the Chiefs defense continues its play from last week, the Raiders will be hard pressed to get any sustained offense going. Their best bet may be to try and hit on some big plays.
On the other end, the Chiefs offense has finally gotten going after struggling in the first half of the season. Jamaal Charles is still the catalyst for this offense, but Alex Smith has been throwing the ball more and Dwayne Bowe is as physically imposing a receiver as there is in the game today.
The Raiders first goal must be to limit Charles’ effectiveness as the Chiefs offense is based around him. The secondary matches up well with the Chiefs receivers and if they are able to limit Charles, they have a shot at containing the Chiefs offense much like they did in the first meeting. Look for Nick Roach and possibly one of the safeties to shadow Charles everywhere.
The key to this game will be turnovers. The Raiders lost the first meeting because of them, and have five total during this three game losing streak. If the Raiders turn the ball over, the Chiefs will take advantage in route to a blowout win. If the Raiders can take care of the ball, their defense has proven to be able to hang with the Chiefs offense, and a couple of timely plays from McGloin could lead the Raiders to the upset.