Eavesdropping On The Enemy

Each week this season I go undercover and spy on the opposing fans of each Chiefs opponent. I believe the fans of the individual teams are the true experts on the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Each week I'll attempt to find out how they view the upcoming game, how their offense will fare against the Chiefs defense and how their defense will fare against the Chiefs offense.

This week the Chiefs look to rebound from a potentially devastating loss in Miami as they host their long time bitter rival, the Oakland Raiders. Once again the Chiefs find themselves in a must win game. The Chiefs are in the heat of a playoff battle, but right now lose most tiebreakers. As the Chiefs fans watch the scoreboard for what is happening with the Chargers, Broncos, Jets, and Jaguars, the Chiefs must take care of their own business. They absolutely cannot afford a loss at home to the 2-7 Raiders. This game has an interesting twist to it as the nation approaches the college bowl season. This game could be called the Rust Bowl. Both teams appear to be starting quarterbacks who have missed several games this season due to injury. Both Raiders QB Aaron Brooks and Chiefs QB Trent Green will look to shake off the rust and lead their team to victory.

This week I spied on Raiders fans from one message board: HomePort: Safe Harbor on the Seven Cyberseas. Raiders fans are frustrated with their offensive coordinator Tom Walsh as well as their offensive superstar, Randy Moss. Raider fans are already looking to next season, but are looking for a win this week to help turn their season around.

Raiders Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

"Brooks is not going to rally us to any victories that we wouldn't have gotten with Walter. Brooks will be rusty, he never got settled in with this lineup and offense, and now it'll be like starting over - week 1 and week 2 all over again, except this time he takes over a team who has basically given up on their coaching staff offensively. I doubt Brooks will even finish this one game." distd – HomePort

"I want to see if Brooks sets the world on fire with Walsh's system, or if he will only confirm what we all suspect about the Walsh system. I'll also be looking to see if the Walsh system changes any, i.e., quick reads, outs, etc., since his short-comings were called out by Walter. If we start to see a lot of passes to the RBs, quick reads, outs, slants, etc., then we'll know Walsh took Walter's advice and Walter was thrown under the bus. On the flip side, if the same system is applied and Brooks looks like a world-beater, then we'll know that Walter is probably not the answer." Cerberus – HomePort

"I think Walsh's big adjustment this week will be bootlegging Brooks 5 or 6 times." Banter – HomePort

"I think Brooks give us the best chance to win. I like his combination of running ability and his arm. Obviously, it's important for teams to win games, and a few good wins down the stretch could do wonders for the offseason." ChicagoRaiderFan – HomePort

The Spy's analysis

FOCUS!!! The Chiefs defense cannot allow themselves to prepare for one of the worst offenses in the league, which the Raiders offense has been this season. The fact still remains that Lamont Jordan is a physical and talented running back, Randy Moss is one of the five best wide receivers in the league and the other Raiders receivers are very talented as well. The key will be to exploit the Raiders weakness, the offensive line. The Chiefs front 4 and at times front 7 must dominate the line of scrimmage and constantly pressure Brooks. If the Chiefs can control the line of scrimmage, they will shut down the Raiders offense. It will be key to get on them early and not let them gain confidence. The Arrowhead crowd will be huge in providing the defense an added advantage, especially on the line of scrimmage.

Raiders Defense vs. Chiefs Offense

"Trent Green is going to start. This is going to help in a lot of ways. They will protect him by handing off to LJ and throwing screen passes to him all day. The Raiders will be ready for that. After that doesn't work for them, Trent will be forced to pass and scramble. He will be a little gun shy and have happy feet. That, my friend, could cause him to experience more pain (if you know what I mean). If our offense shows the slightest signs of life, the Raiders win the game." Idunsmore – HomePort

"Green's been out since Week 1. He's bound to be a little rusty. Huard's been pretty steady in there as QB and is in sync with his receivers. A bigger help in my mind is that Gonzalez won't play this week. He's a big weapon in KC's offense. I don't know if TE backups Jason Dunn or Kris Wilson are in the same league with Gonzalez. I guess we'll find out. Miami's D gave the Chiefs a lot of trouble down in Miami. Our D should be able to do the same. But, this ain't Miami, it's NARROWHEAD. The offense will have to do better for us to have a shot." Freddie B – HomePort

"Really, we can't say whether this is going to be good or bad. Trent MIGHT come out rusty and tentative, but on the other hand, he might be chomping at the bit. Remember, he had a concussion, and has probably felt physically fine for several weeks. Despite Huard's success, he isn't nearly the QB Green is. But it might end up helping us, if Green is rusty. The thing is, it won't matter all that much unless the offense comes out and surprises everybody with a decent effort. If our O doesn't move the ball, KC will be able to be patient, running the ball and throwing safe passes, waiting for our O to make a mistake, or for Dante Hall to get a big return, or for our defense to wear down. We all know how tough a place to play KC is, especially for a struggling offense, and THAT is the key to the game, imho, not whether we face Green or Huard." RaiderMatt – HomePort

"Heard on the radio this morning that Tony Gonzales will be out of the game this weekend. Another plus for our defense as we can tee off on Larry Johnson. Shut down the running game and we will have a chance to win a very ugly game. (Oh and protect the DAMN BALL!)." Idunsmore – HomePort

The Spy's Analysis

Just like the other side of the ball, this battle will be won in the trenches. The Chiefs welcome back their leader and starting quarterback Trent Green. However, that addition is offset by the loss of tightend Tony Gonzalez. Green's effectiveness will be based on the offensive lines ability to open up running lanes for Larry Johnson and protect Green as he drops back to pass. The Raiders are playing very good football this year, but if the Chiefs can run the ball, then playaction passing becomes very effective. Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess is tied for 5th in the league with 8 sacks. However, the Chiefs could be successful running the football at Burgess. If they are, it will slow down his pass rush. Kennison, Parker, Hall, Gardner, and Wilson will all need to replace the production that Tony Gonzalez will hold on the sidelines.

The Spy's Summary

The playoff atmosphere around Arrowhead begins this week. At 5-4 the Chiefs are a legitimate playoff contender. The Chiefs also still have a shot at the AFC West crown. However, to remain a contender they cannot lose to a 2-7 team at home. The key to this game will be the big guys up front. The Chiefs must control the line of scrimmage as well as not turn the ball over. This Chiefs need to raise their intensity to playoff level as well as their level of play. Now is the time when they decide if they will be a factor in December and January or if Chiefs fans will spend December and January scouting the college bowl and all star games for draft picks.

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