Riding a three games losing streak, the Oakland Raiders will look to get back on the winning track at home Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. These two AFC West rivals are at different ends of the spectrum this season with the Chiefs 10-3 and the Raiders 4-9. Oakland will try to avenge a 24-7 loss to Kansas City earlier in the year.
If Oakland has any chance to win, they will have to slow down Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Charles is third in the NFL in rushing with 1,161 yards. He is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, has 10 touchdowns, and has chipped in 57 catches. Charles is the key to the offense. In 2012, Oakland was able to limit him to 14 rushing yards in two meetings. They were both wins. Kansas City is averaging 129.2 rushing yards per game which is good for 8th in the NFL. The Raiders defensive strength has been stopping the run allowing 105.9 yards per game, which is 12th best in the NFL. However, the run defense of late has been more suspect. They will need to step up against Charles and the Chiefs.
When the Raiders have the ball, they want to do the same thing as Kansas City. Running back Rashad Jennings is listed as probable for the game, giving him a good chance to return from his concussion after missing last week's game. Fullback Marcel Reece filled in for Jennings last week and rushed 19 times for 123 yards and a 63 yard touchdown. The Raiders must keep him involved in the game plan, even with Jennings possible return. The Raiders have the fourth ranked rushing offense in the NFL averaging 134.4 yards per game. The Chiefs allow 113.2 rushing yards per game which is ranked 17th in the league.
Both teams will use the run to open up the pass. The Raiders will want to force Alex Smith to beat them. Smith is a smart and accurate quarterback, but does not take shots down the field often. The Raiders will want to stack the box and force Smith to take chances. On the season, Smith is completing a hair fewer than 60 percent of his passes for 2,873 yards, 18 touchdowns and only six interceptions. The Raiders will want to play him the same way they did in the first meeting when they held him to just 128 yards passing and sacked him three times.
Matt McGloin will make his fifth start for the Raiders this Sunday. The rookie quarterback has been solid, but unable to come away with wins. He has tossed six touchdowns to three interceptions during his stretch of play. He could get a boost with the return of wide receiver Denarius Moore, who torched the Chiefs in the first meeting with a 73 yard touchdown from Terrelle Pryor. That was all the scoring the Raiders were able to muster against a stout Chief defense. Moore has missed the last three games with a shoulder and is listed as questionable. If he can return, McGloin will have his full complement of wide receivers. Both Andre Holmes and Rod Streater preformed will during Moore's absence and the passing game will benefit for having all three on the field.
The Raiders are going to still try and implement Pryor into the offense. Last week he saw one series and led a drive resulting in a field goal. He struggled mightily against the Chiefs in the first meeting throwing three interceptions. The offensive line play has disgusting allowing Pryor to be sacked nine times. The Raiders have more healthy bodies on the line this Sunday, but will have to keep both Pryor and McGloin clean. If they can give the quarterbacks time, the Chiefs pass defense is ranked 19th in the NFL allowing 244.6 yards per game.
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