From O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California


Help The Passing Game With Successful Running

The Chiefs have been very efficient on offense with their passing game for the last few games. QB Matt Cassel has really picked up his level of play, as he continues to throw for a high completion percentage and has cut down on the interceptions that dogged him in the season’s first few games. WR Dwayne Bowe has gotten off to a big start to the season and WR Steve Breaston has made a spot for himself in the passing attack, giving the Chiefs a legitimate one-two punch at WR that they’ve lacked. Against the Raiders defense, the biggest help that Cassel can get in the passing game is to have a productive running game to fall back on and keep the Oakland pass rushers guessing. The Raiders have an average defense against the run, giving up 113.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. Whether it’s Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones or Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs running game must do better than those numbers as a team and per carry. PUSH – The running and passing game did not work well together in this contest, as the Chiefs really couldn’t get anything going on the ground until the second half. It was enough however, that the Chiefs were able to put two offensive touchdowns on the board, enough to win this game.


Win The Kicking Game

WR Jacoby Ford snapped off a 94-yard kickoff return TD to open the second half out in Oakland last year that changed the momentum of the game the Raiders eventually won. Earlier in that game, Javier Arenas returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown, but a penalty for an illegal block in the back against the Chiefs wiped out that score. With P Shane Lechler and even a gimpy K Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), the Raiders can dominate on special teams. The Chiefs must make sure they do no worse than break even in the kicking game. It’s time to give Arenas another chance to reach the end zone; he’s been close. ACCOMPLISHED – the Chiefs controlled the special teams from start to finish in this game, helped along by the absence of K Sebastian Janikowski who did not play because of a hamstring injury. The Chiefs never allowed Ford to get any running room, as Ryan Succop knocked kickoff after kickoff not only in the end zone, but out the other side.


Make Carson Palmer Kyle Boller Uncomfortable

If Palmer starts for the Raiders, he’ll be playing in his first live action since last December. If Boller plays, he’s seen limited opportunities in the last few years. Although he’s a veteran QB, Palmer will be rusty without any coordinated off-season work, training camp or pre-season play. He’ll be much sharper in a month than he will be on this Sunday. Boller struggled when he had the opportunity to start with Baltimore and St. Louis. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel needs to take advantage of the inactivity with multiple coverages, disguising coverages and making sure the secondary doesn’t blow any of those coverages. The Chiefs defense also needs to add some blitz packages, something they’ve not done often in the first five games. ACCOMPLISHED – One sack does not look impressive on paper, but the Chiefs were able to keep bodies flying at both quarterbacks and without a doubt, that affected several of the throws that ended up being intercepted.


Stop the run

If they have any hope of beating the Raiders, the Chiefs will have to make sure they can control the production of Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and the rest of the Oakland running game. That’s something they couldn’t get done in the 2010 regular-season finale when Oakland ran for 209 yards without McFadden. That day, Bush ran for 137 yards on 25 carries. They also got 24 rushing yards from WRs Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey on end-around runs. Over the last three games, only Minnesota’s Percy Harvin has produced big running plays against the Chiefs, both times on end-around plays. The Chiefs front seven on defense wears the sombrero this week. Their performance will be in the spotlight. FAILED – because of the score, the Raiders were not able to rely on their running game as much as they would have liked. When they did run, they were fairly successful, averaging 5.7 yards a carry and picking up 155 yards in the game. For the Chiefs that was an improvement over the 209 yards they allowed in the final game of the 2010 season, but it still wasn’t good enough.

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