Originally published on SBReport.net on Oct. 26, 2012
The Oakland Raiders head into the hostile Arrowhead Stadium to take on AFC West-rivals Kansas City Chiefs looking to climb closer to the division lead with a win.
Even with their poor start to the season, the Raiders are just one game out of first place in the division which is currently held by both the Chargers and Broncos.
Like last week, the Raiders face a team coming off of their bye week. This, along with facing a divisional foe will prove a tough task for a Raiders team that has struggled at times.
There's no doubt that offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will keep trying to get Darren McFadden and the rushing attack going. McFadden is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and only 54 yards per game.
Knapp's offense faces a Chiefs defense that is giving up 125 yards per game on the ground, the 11th worst in the National Football League.
The offensive line will need to play better than it did last week to open up holes for McFadden and keep quarterback Carson Palmer off his back. McFadden continuously ran into a wall of defenders as he attempted to find running room against the Jaguars last week.
The offensive line faces a tough test in a strong Chiefs defensive line that features pass-rushing specialist Tamba Hali. Hali and the Chiefs will undoubtedly look to pressure Palmer to affect the timing of the Raiders passing game.
Palmer will test a familiar face on the outside in cornerback Stanford Routt. Routt, who played for the Raiders for his first seven NFL seasons, is susceptible to giving up a big play as Raiders fans know. Routt and the secondary have done a formidable job defending the pass thus far, allowing just 224.5 passing yards per game, 13th best in the NFL.
Should the Raiders rushing attack continue to stall, it will be necessary for Denarius Moore and the wide receivers to get open for Palmer.
On defense, the Raiders will face their toughest running test yet with a Chiefs offense that features explosive running back Jamaal Charles. Charles and the Chiefs feature the third best rushing attack in the NFL with 164.0 rushing yards per game. Linebacker Miles Burris and the Raiders defense will have to maintain their gaps to prevent any big plays from Charles.
Kansas City's passing attack lacks the explosiveness of the ground attack. After taking over for an injured Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn was named the starter this week by head coach Romeo Crennel despite Cassel being back from injury.
Quinn has largely been a letdown in the NFL since being drafted 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2007. He has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes attempted for 2,114 yards, 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 16 games played.
Oakland's secondary will have to keep an eye on wide receiver Dewayne Bowe who always seems to have a big game against the Raiders. Despite a shaky quarterback situation, Bowe has always accumulated 427 yards and three touchdowns on 34 receptions.
The Raiders will look to pressure Quinn in hopes of continuing their recent success in producing turnovers. After forcing three interceptions against Atlanta, the Raiders were able to force a crucial fumble last week that helped lead to the overtime victory.
OUT: T Khalif Barnes (groin), CB Shawntae Spencer (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Desmond Bryant (elbow), LB Keenan Clayton (shoulder), LB Travis Goethel (back), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), DE Dave Tollefson (shoulder)
PROBABLE: LB Miles Burris (elbow), WR Juron Criner (hip), RB Mike Goodson (hip), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), DT Tommy Kelly (shoulder), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder), S Michael Mitchell (ankle), TE Brandon Myers (knee), C Alex Parsons (back), DT Richard Seymour (knee), WR Rod Streater (knee)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
QUESTIONABLE: CB Jalil Brown (groin), DE Glenn Dorsey (calf), TE Steve Maneri (ankle)
PROBABLE: QB Matt Cassel (concussion), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring)