Tonight's AFC West Preview

Broncos Update takes an inside look at tonight's AFC West showdown between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:30 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/18/05
TV: ESPN, Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, Joe Theismann, Suzy Kolber

SERIES: 90th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead 45-42-2 after winning the last four games. Chiefs are 6-4 in Oakland since the Raiders' return there, with the six victories coming by a combined total of just 31 points.

*2005 rankings: Chiefs: offense 7th (3rd rush, 21st pass); defense 27th (7th rush, 32nd pass). Raiders: offense 14th (20th rush, 11th pass); defense 25th (9th rush, 29th pass)

PREDICTION: Raiders 31-28

KEYS TO THE GAME: The equation is hardly rocket science for the Chiefs -- they have won 15 consecutive games when holding an opponent under 21 points.

With a prolific offense, all Kansas City's defense has to do is be mediocre. It was more than that in the season opener, recording seven fumbles, two sacks and an interception, but Oakland's balance could prove a stiffer test.

Raiders QB Kerry Collins threw 14 passes in WR Randy Moss' direction against New England, but look for him to better utilize RB LaMont Jordan in the passing game. If the Raiders can have success underneath, then they can attack the Chiefs' vulnerable secondary.

The Raiders' behemoth run defense with former ends Tyler Brayton and Grant Irons playing outside linebacker will be an intriguing matchup against the Chiefs' offensive line, which could suffer a domino affect with LT Willie Roaf's (hamstring) status uncertain.

FAST FACTS: Chiefs: Will travel 27,720 air miles this season, 18th in the NFL. ... Lead the series 47-43-2 and have swept the past two season series. Raiders: Are 28-6-1 in home openers since 1970 and have won nine of their past 10. ... Are 4-7 against the Chiefs at home since moving back to Oakland.

--LT Willie Roaf said Thursday that he did not expect to play Sunday in Oakland after injuring his hamstring in the season-opening win over the Jets. Roaf said he was feeling considerably better, however, and might be able to play in the Week 3 Monday Night game in Denver.
--T Jordan Black, who is expected to start at Roaf's LT position for the first time in his three-year career, missed Thursday's practice with a stomach ailment. He is expected to be back at practice Friday and play against the Raiders on Sunday.
--G Brian Waters missed Thursday's workout with a sore back, but he's expected to play Sunday in Oakland. Waters also missed two workouts late in the week before last week's win over Oakland, but played at a high level in the game.
--FB Tony Richardson, a key element in Kansas City's running game and pass protection, thinks he can practice Friday and play Sunday in Oakland after missing the first two practices this week with a knee injury.
--T Chris Bober, who has played primarily at guard and center in his previous seasons with the Giants, likely will open at right tackle for the Chiefs in Oakland this week. Bober was an emergency replacement at right tackle against the Jets last week when Willie Roaf went down and Jordan Black moved from right tackle to left.
--CB Dewayne Washington missed a second day of practice Thursday with back problems. He played in base defense last week when Patrick Surtain was knocked out and did not play in the second half against the Jets.
--T Kevin Sampson, who spent most of camp as the starting right tackle before his dislocated a toe, likely will be available to play against Oakland, as the Chiefs are short of depth along the line.

--In an unexpected twist, WR Doug Gabriel was permitted to catch passes Wednesday for the first time since finger surgery a month ago. Although his practice time was limited, Gabriel, who had not been expected to return until Oct. 2 at the earliest, then was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Kansas City. He had been expected to be ruled out.
--Although he said the idea had a certain appeal to outsiders, coach Norv Turner squashed the idea of having CB Charles Woodson assigned to Chiefs' TE Tony Gonzalez. "It's easier said than done," Turner said. "It can get complicated. They're a shift and move team. You have to coordinate it with everyone else (in the secondary)."
--QB Kerry Collins said his sore thumb was not an issue. He jammed it on a helmet in New England a week ago.
--Norv Turner praised the work of DL Ed Jasper, who had four tackles and a pass defended in the opener. Jasper had considered retirement after being released by Atlanta but joined the Raiders as a free agent. "Once we got into camp and got him going and saw the things he can do, (we saw) he's very active inside, a slithering guy that can play the run," Turner said. "And he's a very good pass rusher." Jasper led the Raiders in sacks in preseason with four.
--Backup RB Justin Fargas (knee) has what coach Norv Turner calls a "chronic" knee problem that "has kind of resolved itself." Fargas has not played since mid-August but is practicing again and could be available for Sunday's game.

Coach Dick Vermeil acknowledged Thursday that the Chiefs may not have DT Ryan Sims available for the rest of the season because of the severe foot injury he sustained in the first series of the season's first game last week.

Though there are no broken bones in the foot, Vermeil said Sims has a separation in the upper bones of his foot that requires considerable time to heal, as well as a long rehabilitation process afterward.

"Optimistically, I'd say yes (to having him back)," Vermeil said. "Pessimistically, I'd say no. But I'm an optimist, so I'm keeping the door open."

The injury is a second major setback in Sims' ill-fated career that was just beginning its fourth season.

In his 2002 rookie season, Sims - the sixth player drafted that year - missed training camp while negotiating his first contract, then was lost for the season with a dislocated left elbow in the sixth game he played.

He started 29 games in the past two seasons and was coming off what Vermeil called the strongest camp of his career before he went down on the first series.

Is trouble brewing in receiving heaven?

That's what they were calling the Raiders when they acquired Randy Moss to go with Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry to form what promised to be a trio that would terrorize the AFC West.

The only hangup, as some saw it, was whether there would be enough balls thrown to satisfy all three, not to mention running back LaMont Jordan, who was expected to have 300 carries and 60 receptions himself.

When asked if he could handle the possibility his statistics would be less imposing than in the past, Moss said he could ... if the team was winning.

Moss made five catches for 130 yards through one game and had 14 passes directed to him. But the team was not winning.

Porter, who signed a new five-year deal shortly before Moss came aboard, had expected to be the Raiders' go-to threat this year. When Moss arrived, Porter said it he could handle it, there would be plenty of balls available. He missed the entire preseason and in his first game, caught just three passes and only five were thrown to him.

Curry, who is being carefully scrutinized, was coming off Achilles' tendon surgery and has been brought along slowly. But slow doesn't describe his first game. Only one pass was directed at him. It was incomplete. The play was nullified by a penalty.

So while Moss had 14 passes thrown to him, Porter and Curry had six between them and the first sounds of protest, though muted, have already been logged.

Curry was perplexed. He said he wasn't even on the field in the second half of the 30-20 loss at New England. Was the team taking it easy on his Achilles' and ankle injuries?

"All I want to say is that if taking it easy is not playing ..." he said, letting his words tail off. "If I am going to be out there to play, then I want to be out there to play."

His point: If the team doesn't consider him fit to play, then don't use him.

Asked if he was aware in advance that he would be down in the second half, Curry said "I was aware I was probably going to be in and out, but how they were going to break it down, that I didn't know.

"It's frustrating, but not frustrating to the point where you are upset. I want to go out and make plays but I know what the situation is. It is what it is."

And just what is it?
"I don't know what it is," Curry said.
Meanwhile, Porter didn't want to talk at all. He waved off an interview request but when asked if his hamstring had held up during the game, cracked a not-so-funny joke.

"I am fine," he said. "I am always fine. Unless you see a bone coming through the skin, I'm still fine."

Voice your opinion on our Hardcore Message Board
Exclusively at Broncos

Mile High Huddle Top Stories