Nick Athan: I've always maintained that Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, never quite found the secret sauce in using Running Back, Jamaal Charles. Reid's insistence in making the Chiefs a passing team often found Charles as the decoy in key downs for KC's offense. However, with his season ending injury, Reid has found great success with his back-ups, Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. The difference between Charles and the understudies, West and Ware are terrific blockers. I could argue that the 'W' boys are more rounded to play every down where as Charles, if not in the pass pattern, hasn't shown the ability to lay out pass rushers as his back-ups.
CM: The Chiefs pass defense started off poorly, giving up a lot of touchdowns but has seemingly tightened up a bit and is now allowing just 239.5 yards per game (11th in NFL). What has changed?
NA: It's a simple answer. Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton, has taken the shackles of his team. The primary reason the defense has played so well over the last seven games, because they've been far more aggressive in attacking opposing offenses. The sacks are on the rise because KC's secondary has tightened up their coverages and Safety, Eric Berry, has played some of the best football of his career.
CM: The Chiefs have a turnover rate of +12, second best in the NFL. What do they do so well that they are able to create so many turnovers?
NA: It goes back to their aggressive nature on defense. However, much can be attributed to the play of veteran cornerback, Sean Smith and Oakland native, Marcus Peters. The Chiefs first round pick is on pace to land AFC rookie of the year honors. Though he tends to play out of control at times, he's the Chiefs spark plug in the secondary. If he's on his game, and he'll need to play at an All Pro level against the Raiders talented receivers, he could become an All Pro at seasons end.
CM: It seems as if the Chiefs defense has become quite stout all-around. In your opinion, where are they most vulnerable and how should Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave look to attack them?
NA: The Chiefs are a hard team to figure out and that means Bill Musgrave will have their hands full on Sunday. What the Chiefs have done well this season is make adjustments from one quarter to the next on the defensive side of the ball. Case in point there are series when KC's defense looks lost and teams try to exploit that weakness but that lulls opponents into a false sense of security. The result the Chiefs defense basically takes over the game at that point.
CM: Seems like the Raiders and Chiefs always have competitive games. What do you think is the outcome on Sunday?
NA: A year ago the Raiders spoiled the Chiefs playoff chances by delivering their first win of the season at the Coliseum. It was a game that sunk KC's spirit and they never recovered from that loss. With a five game winning streak on the line, KC isn't going to take the Raiders lightly this time around. This game has payback written all over it. Chiefs 33 - Raiders 24