Every week, we here at Arrowhead Addict break down the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup of the week and predict five things the team will have to do in order to win. Welcome to Five Keys to Victory.
Raider Week Part One has finally come to an end, and the Chiefs are set to square off against their bitter rivals. While the Kansas City Chiefs are trying to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2003 (we’ll keep saying that until they hit 9-0) the Oakland Raiders are trying to get to .500 going into the bye. The Chiefs should not take this game lightly. Not only do the Raiders have a new spark in quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but they have won six of the last seven of the meetings between these two teams dating back to 2009.
This is not the game for the Chiefs to think they will cruise through. Here are the five things the Chiefs will have to accomplish in order to continue their unprecedented and record-breaking winning streak.
Key #1: Control the Clock
The Chiefs lead the league in clock management in the fourth quarter. I know that’s hard for head coach Andy Reid detractors to accept, but it’s true. However, the Chiefs should play keep away from Pryor and this Raider offense as much as possible. It’s not that they are all that explosive, but they could be, if given the chance. A rested Chiefs defense against a desperate Raiders offense makes for a good combination in my book.
Key #2: Force the Disrespectful Raiders to Respect JC
One of the many reasons the Raiders are such a hated rival is because they are the “bad guy.” The silver and black, the eye patch logo, the “dirty play” it all screams bad guy. But, perhaps the most concerning is their disrespect of Jamaal. The Raiders are one of the better teams against the run thus far. They rank 11th in the NFL, allowing just 96.6 yards per game. The Chiefs, led by Charles, are averaging 120.6 yards per game. A 30 yard differential is pretty significant, especially when so much of the Chiefs 4th quarter ball-control offense relies on the run game. The Chiefs will have to win this battle to stay ahead.
Key #3: Continue to Open the Playbook
Where the Raiders defense is pretty good against the run, they rank in the bottom third of the NFL against the pass. Smith showed a bit of his ability to go deep last week. The Chiefs need to press that advantage. Doing that will open up the run game and so on. It’s the same story we’ve been telling since week one, but the truth is there.
Key #4: Keep Smith Upright
The Raiders don’t have much of a pass rush, but defensive end Lamar Houston is a threat. The offensive line needs to continue the trend they started last week of keeping the defense out of the back field. When given time, Smith can get the ball out or take off. He can’t do anything from his back.
Key #5: Contain Pryor
The Chiefs should have a basic blueprint on how to work Pryor based on the defense they ran against the Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Michael Vick. Other than one run, the Chiefs managed to keep Vick contained pretty well. Pryor should be similar, and perhaps a bit easier to contain, as he doesn’t have nearly the experience that Vick does. Plus, Pryor has a habit of only escaping to his right, which doesn’t bode well with linebacker Justin Houston bearing down from that side. It could lead to quite a big game for the prolific linebacker.
There it is, Addicts. Let’s hope the Chiefs can put it together and stop the bleeding from the last several Raider appearances in Arrowhead. One Chiefs victory would wipe away all the losses of the past and extend this Chiefs streak to three times their win total from last year.
See you at Arrowhead, Addicts!