The Matchups – Chiefs vs Raiders

Chiefs vs Raiders, Sunday, 12:00 PM CDT, Arrowhead Stadium.

WHEN THE CHIEFS PASS

The good news for Chiefs fans is that the Raiders lack an interior pass rush. Oakland's defensive tackles, Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren, are terrible, and put no heat on Jay Cutler last week against the Denver Broncos. The bad news is that Oakland's best pass rusher, Derrick Burgess, plays both end positions and has given Kansas City problems in the past.

With Burgess lining up at left end, he'll see plenty of snaps against Damion McIntosh, who has struggled thus far in his bid to start at right tackle. However, if the Chiefs can contain Burgess, they should find some success in the passing game. Last week, despite the fact Brandon Marshall was suspended, the Broncos racked up almost 300 yards passing.

Oakland's prize offseason acquisition – cornerback DeAngelo Hall – performed exactly like the overpaid, overhyped player many have him figured to be last week. He was torched repeatedly by rookie receiver Eddie Royal. If the Chiefs can get Dwayne Bowe one-on-one with Hall, it's a mismatch.

EDGE: Even


WHEN THE RAIDERS PASS

The Raiders struggle to throw the ball down the field, and this week they may have even more trouble with starting left tackle Kwame Harris sidelined due to injury. In his place is second-year tackle Mario Henderson, who has never played in an NFL game.

Of course, the Raiders have issues in pass blocking everywhere along the line. If that wasn't enough problems, they have few legitimate threats at wide receiver, with Ronald Curry being their best option. Last week the Raiders were forced to start return man Johnnie Lee Higgins with Javon Walker on the sideline. Walker may not start again this week.

With no real threats in the passing game and an inexperienced JaMarcus Russell – who's struggling to read defenses quickly – the Raiders won't present near the threat the New England Patriots did to the Chiefs a week ago. They will, however, run the bootleg frequently off their zone stretch running game, so Kansas City will need to be alert for that.

EDGE: Chiefs


WHEN THE CHIEFS RUN

The Raiders have an outstanding middle linebacker in Kirk Morrison, and a solid run-support safety in Gibril Wilson. Unfortunately, their lackluster defensive line renders their back seven helpless when teams run the ball. Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren are once again liabilities here, and Derrick Burgess' diminutive frame doesn't help.

To compensate, the Raiders like to stuff the box full of defenders, as many as nine players sometimes. If the Chiefs are smart, they'll have their audible packages ready to take advantage. And Damon Huard can definitely take advantage, because Oakland was biting hard on play fakes last week against the Broncos.

Edge: Chiefs


WHEN THE RAIDERS RUN

There is one thing the Raiders do well – run the football. In the last meeting between Oakland and Kansas City, the Raiders racked up 153 yards rushing, much of it coming late in the game. With the addition of Darren McFadden, they're even more lethal on the ground.

McFadden won't start however, which is curious considering the need Oakland's offense has for a gamebreaking talent. The Raiders like to run tricky packages with their rookie star, including lining him up at quarterback, where he'll either hand the ball to Justin Fargas or keep it himself for a run around the end.

The Chiefs under Gunther Cunningham are well-versed in defending Oakland's zone-blocking attack, however, having played Mike Shanahan's Broncos for years. The fact Kansas City's offense implemented a similar style of rushing attack this offseason may help. Look for the Chiefs to stack the box early and force Russell to beat them.

Edge: Raiders


SPECIAL TEAMS

The Raiders have outstanding specialists in kicker Sebastian Janikowski, punter Shane Lechler and returner Johnnie Lee Higgins. If the Chiefs' coverage units are truly improved, they must find a way to stop Higgins.

EDGE: Raiders


INTANGIBLES

The Chiefs had beaten Oakland nine straight times before falling to the Raiders, 20-17, at Arrowhead Stadium last season. The Raiders spent a ton of money in free agency this offseason but don't appear to be improved given their Week 1 blowout loss to the Broncos, which came at home, no less. Was their lackluster performance a fluke, or a sign of things to come? We'll find out how a young Raiders team responds in their first road contest. Chiefs Head Coach Herm Edwards is 1-1 against Raiders Head Coach Lane Kiffin.

EDGE: Chiefs


PREDICTION

The Raiders are as bad as we all think they are. The Chiefs, however, won't take them lightly in their home opener, especially after a disappointing loss last week in New England.

Chiefs 27, Raiders 10

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