Campbell's Keys

For the second week in a row we've been able to catch up with Warpaint Illustrated analyst Mike Campbell and discuss his keys to winning the game. Will the offensive line make sure the return of Trent Green isn't short lived? How does Aaron Brooks change things for the Chiefs defense? We discuss these topics and many more in this week's edition of "Campbell's Keys."

While the return of Trent Green should help the Chiefs offense, the Raiders game rests solely on the shoulders of Larry Johnson. The Raiders are towards the bottom of the league in run defense (26th) while their pass defense sits near the top (3rd). By attacking the Raiders on the ground the Chiefs can avoid playing to Oakland's strength and shield their dilapidated offensive line from the mismatch they'll face in pass protection.

When looking at the speed of the Raiders' front seven the Chiefs ability to run between the tackles will be imperative. Linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard make up the quickest duo of backers in the league. Running laterally against those two will be extremely difficult. Running straight at them will neutralize their speed and level the playing field. It should be noted that with the absence of Brian Waters, Kevin Sampson and Tony Gonzalez it will be a much more difficult task than normal to run straight ahead.

On the defensive side of the ball the Chiefs have the clear advantage against the Oakland offense. The Raiders offensive line has been so bad this season that their best day isn't as good as the worst day that we've seen from the Chiefs. Left tackle Robert Gallery has been awful this season and teammates Langston Walker and Jake Grove haven't done much better. To date, the Raiders offensive line has allowed 27 sacks (compare that to Kansas City's 20) and their offense as a whole is 32nd in the league.

Keys:
Coming in to this game, Jared Allen is one of the NFL's top performing defensive ends. When you compare Allen's recent performances to Robert Gallery's, this appears to be a major mismatch in the Chiefs favor. To make matters worse Gallery is nursing a sore groin, not what you want when you have to try and block Jared Allen all day.

If John Welbourn is ready to play, the Chiefs desperately need him to fill in for either Waters or Sampson because the drop off at both positions has been far too steep.

The last time Jordan Black played left tackle against the Raiders he was absolutely destroyed by their third-string defensive end. This week he'll have to face Derrick Burgess. Frankly, I find that a little frightening. For Trent Green's sake the Chiefs offense had better be able to run the ball and stay out of third and long as often as possible.

With Tamba Hali still recovering from his hip pointer and Derrick Johnson still out with his injured ankle, the left side of the Chiefs defense will be a target. One week ago the Dolphins exposed Kansas City's weaknesses on their left flank. If Art Shell studied the tape like I did, he saw a huge opportunity to use Aaron Brooks on the bootleg. Since Brooks is now penciled as this Sunday's starter look for the Raiders to resort to the bootleg early on. It will undoubtedly be their best option to move the ball.

Unfortunately, Trent Green lacks the pass protection he'll need to make deep throws from five-step drops. If the Chiefs are going to make big plays in the passing game it's going to have to come from play action. If Kansas City can get Larry Johnson going they might be able to take advantage of a young and inexperienced Raiders secondary that features safety Stuart Schweigert as its only polished veteran.

With Gonzalez out of the lineup, Kris Wilson and Jason Dunn will undoubtedly have to play a bigger role in the passing game. More importantly, however, the Chiefs wide receivers need to be a more consummate threat than they were a week ago so the Raiders can't play their safeties near the line of scrimmage. If Parker, Hall and Rod Gardner play as poorly as they did in Miami I wouldn't be afraid to put both Schweigert and Huff in the box and dare Kansas City to go downfield.

As good as both defenses are, this game will likely be a low scoring punt fest, and what two better punters to watch than Shane Lechler and Dustin Colquitt? It might not be a true key to the game because they are both so talented, but it will be entertaining to watch nonetheless.

INJURY REPORT:

KANSAS CITY (5-4)
OUT: LB Derrick Johnson – Ankle, OT Kevin Sampson – Foot, G Brian Waters - Knee, Greg Wesley - Shoulder

DOUBTFUL: TE Tony Gonzalez - Shoulder

QUESTIONABLE: DE Tamba Hali – Hip,

PROBABLE: SS Sammy Knight - Ankle



OAKLAND (2-7)
OUT: LB Isaiah Ekejiuba – Foot, G Barry Sims - Abdomen

QUESTIONABLE: OT Robert Gallery –Groin, C Jake Grove - Elbow

PROBABLE: QB Aaron Brooks – Shoulder, FS Jarrod Cooper - Hamstring, FB Zack Crockett – Knee, RB Justin Fargas – Shoulder, SS Michael Huff – Concussion, RB LaMont Jordan – Back, LB Robert Thomas – Heel

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