Countdown to Paydirt: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders return home on a short week to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football at O.Co Coliseum.

Oakland is coming off of an ugly 13-6 loss against the San Diego Chargers in which the offense gained just 233 yards of total offense.

It certainly won’t get any easier for rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders offense as they face a Chiefs defense that hasn’t given up a 300-yard passer all season.

The Raiders offensive line needs to find a way to slow down Justin Houston and the Chiefs’ stout defensive line. Houston leads the league in sacks with 12.0, while the Chiefs are ranked third in the league with 30 overall. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe could give Austin Howard problems on the inside, while Tamba Hali is always a threat to get into the backfield from the outside.

In all, the Chiefs are allowing just 201.6 yards per game in the air, the best in the league. One way the Raiders can help relieve the Raiders passing game is by getting the rushing attack going more than the horrendous 63.0 yards they’re averaging on the ground.

It remains to be seen if the Raiders will turn to second-year running back Latavius Murray for more of an impact role after he carried the ball four times for 43 yards last week. Interim head coach Tony Sparano did say that we will see more of him, but we do not know how much more.

If it is Murray, he will be facing a Chiefs defense that can be attacked with the rush. The Chiefs are giving up 124.4 yards per game on the ground (25th in the NFL). That being said, the Chiefs have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season. Murray and the Raiders offense will hope to change that on Thursday.

The Raiders defense has really excelled in recent weeks, but will have to maintain strong discipline this week against running back Jamaal Charles. Charles is a speedy back that torched the Raiders defense last season. He is teamed up with Knile Davis, who is a little more of a bruising back. Kansas City relies on their rushing attack greatly, averaging 141.2 rushing yards per game (4th in the NFL).

The Chiefs passing game is led by veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who is having another stellar year protecting the football. In the Chiefs seven victories this season, Smith does not have a turnover. On the other hand, Smith still has not completed a touchdown pass to a wide receiver this year.

Instead it has been the athletic tight end Travis Kelce that has been Smith’s go-to target in the red zone. Kelce has hauled in 37 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns. Safety Charles Woodson

The Raiders defensive line will look to continue their strong push in order to throw Smith and the Kansas City offense off. Linebacker Khalil Mack and defensive tackle Antonio Smith both recorded their first sacks with the Silver & Black last week.

The Raiders will head back out on the road to take on the St. Louis Rams next week.

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