The Kansas City Chiefs will hope to keep their playoff hopes alive Saturday when they host the Oakland Raiders.
Both Oakland and Kansas City will need help if they hope to win the AFC West but whichever team loses this game is eliminated from playoff contention. The stakes will be high at Arrowhead on Christmas Eve.
Here are five players that will need to step up if KC is going to complete a season sweep of the Raiders.
Orton was sensational against the Green Bay Packers Sunday and another week of practice should only raise his comfort level. The Raiders have a physical and aggressive defense so Orton needs to continue to spread the ball around while also making smart decisions with the football. The Chiefs were able to move the ball well with Orton under center but they struggled in the red zone. Those FGs need to turn touchdowns if the Chiefs want to keep winning.
Bowe had 49 yards receiving against the Packers but he failed to make any big plays. This may be partly because the Chiefs were avoiding the strong Green Bay corners while attacking the middle of the field. Still, now that Bowe has a competent QB under center, he needs to step up. Bowe has some excuses because of the Tyler Palko era but if Bowe ever wants to be considered elite, he has got to be more consistent.
Hali is making a late Pro Bowl charge. Though he isn’t likely to catch up in the fan vote, the players and coaches will surely reward him should his sack total continue to climb over the next two games. He is 8th in the NFL in sacks with 12 but he 2nd in the AFC, only one sack behind Terrell Suggs. The Raiders like to take a lot of sudden deep shots down field. Hali needs to get to Carson Palmer to help the KC defense prevent big plays.
Lewis got the party started against the Raiders the last time these two teams met with a pick six. Romeo Crennel will need him to show up again at Arrowhead. Lewis needs to roam the secondary and make Carson Palmer pay for any errant deep balls. He also needs to make sure he keeps those speedy Oakland receivers in front of him.
The Raiders like to run and that means the Chiefs may find themselves in their base defense a lot more than they did against the Packers. KC struggles against more balanced teams and if Crennel’s crew wants to make the Raiders one dimensional then they have to shut down the run. That means the veteran Gregg needs to have a strong game eating up blockers, allowing Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher to do their thing.
Alright, Addicts, those are my five players to watch. Who will you be keeping an eye on Saturday?