Kickoff for the Chiefs Week 15 match up is about two hours away and the Chiefs have the opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. In order to do that though, they’ll have to beat the Oakland Raiders in the “Black Hole.” While the Raiders are a team still trying to figure out who they are after their late owner Al Davis left them in shambles, they are still dangerous…especially at home.
Here’s what I think the Chiefs will have to do in order to secure a victory.
Key #1: Special Teams Needs Another Special Day
With punt returner Dexter McCluster out of the game after his spectacular 177 total return yards and one touchdown performance last Sunday against the Washington Redskins, the next man up — likely Quintin Demps — will have to step up. Many think a return is a return is a return, but the mechanics behind a punt return and a kickoff return are quite different. This phase is a game changer for the Chiefs and will need to show up today.
Key #2: The Pass Rush Will Need to Pick Up Where it Left Off
After taking a mini-vacation from sacking the quarterback — one that lasted from Week 8 until last week, really — the Chiefs pass rush is back. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton dialed up some great blitz packages last Sunday in our nation’s capitol and was able to hit the Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks a total of six times. He’ll need to dig into that bag of tricks and find some more of that magic today. While the Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin is an undrafted rookie, he’s shown some affinity for throwing touchdowns when given time. It’s up to Tamba Hali and company to ensure he doesn’t have that time.
Key #3: Start Fast
Even when the Chiefs were on their magical 9-0 run, one of the things they were unable to do was start fast. More often that not their first drive or two or three ended with a three-and-out. However, they seem to be getting better at getting the offense moving right out of the gate. I would love to see an opening drive for a TD today, but I’d settle for any points on the board after the opening possession.
Key #4: Increase That Turnover Ratio
Bad teams give the ball away. Good teams force those turnovers. The Raiders are a bad team and the Chiefs are a good team. This should be the perfect recipe for this Chiefs team to increase that turnover ratio. The Chiefs have guys who can intercept the ball, and working against the aforementioned undrafted, rookie quarterback, that shouldn’t be difficult.
Key #5: Don’t Take Your Foot Off the Gas
Last week the Chiefs kept scoring points, regardless of what the Redskins were doing. This isn’t youth league football. There is no rule that says you shouldn’t run up the score in the interest of good sportsmanship. If a good team plays a bad team, the good team should keep scoring as much and as often as possible. I don’t care if it’s second or even third-stringers dancing in the endzone, but I want to see scoring and a lot of it.
There they are, Addicts. I think if the Chiefs can accomplish these things, they’ll come away from this game with a win and playoff berth. Did I miss any? Let me know below.