Chiefs vs. Raiders: Five Players To Watch


The Kansas City Chiefs will try to win their third in a row this Sunday when they travel to Oakland to take on the Carson Palmer-led (we think) Raiders.

It will be a tough road test for the Chiefs, who, despite winning two in a row, haven’t beaten a team with a winning record (or even a win at all at the time of the game) all season.

Sunday’s contest will be the game of the year thus far for the Chiefs. Here are five players that could have a big impact on Sunday’s outcome.

Matt Cassel

If the Chiefs have a hope of winning this game, then they need Zombie Cassel to show up and play. Since you are never quite sure when Zombie Cassel will show up, the Raiders are likely to try to clamp down on the run and generate pressure so that they end up facing Sand Cassel as opposed to Zombie Cassel.

Sand Cassel crumbles under pressure. Zombie Cassel can’t be stopped.

What I am hoping is that the addition of Steve Breaston to the offense is helping turn Sand Cassel into Zombie Cassel full time. The addition of Baldwin, if the Chiefs should play him, could help even more.

I fully believe a consistent Cassel could lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl but I don’t fully believe Cassel can be consistent.

A good game on Sunday could go a long way toward making me a believer.

Derrick Johnson

DJ has got to clamp down on Darren McFadden. He can’t miss tackles and he can’t take the wrong angle. He’s probably the only KC defender that can match McFadden’s athleticism. Maybe Brandon Flowers could be put in that category, but his primary responsibility will be defending the pass. The Chiefs need a great game out of DJ.

Justin Houston

Alright, kid. This is what you’re here for.

Houston struggled as a starting OLB early this season. That’s OK, he’s a rookie. He’ll learn. But now the Chiefs are using him as a sub-pass rusher opposite Tamaba Hali. Hali is fantastic but he’s getting double-teamed in pretty much every game. Teams don’t feat KC’s other pass rushers.

Houston is going to get one-on-one looks. He has absolutely got to make the Raiders pay for it. If he can do that, he’ll free Tamba.

And then it’s on.

Jon McGraw

I know what you’re thinking. Quick Draw probably hasn’t been named a player to watch since he was at K-State.

Still, Quick Draw has tremendous value to KC’s defense. He can’t cover, but he plays the run very well. The Chiefs need him to have a solid game to help stop McFadden.

Quick Draw has his downsides. He has a propensity to miss tackles, he’s slow and he can’t cover.

Still, used as sort of safety-linebacker hybrid, he has his uses. He generally takes the right angle, and he often isn’t fooled.

The alternative is guys like Shabby Piscitelli and Donnie Washington. Both those chumps are awful playing the run. Donnie does OK in coverage and Shabby sucks at everything.

He won’t receive much fanfare for it but McGraw could make a difference Sunday.

Brandon Flowers

Flowers hasn’t been good this season. He just hasn’t. Some think he may be playing hurt, but who isn’t playing hurt these days? Also, no injury other than maybe a concussion could have made Flowers bite on the pump-fake vs. the Colts. The Chiefs absolutely can’t afford those kind of mistakes.

Flowers not only needs to tighten up his coverage, he needs to start making plays. Teams have figured out it is better to avoid Brandon Carr, and they’re picking Flowers.* Flowers needs to make them pay in the form of interceptions.

Big plays on special teams and turnovers could decide this game. Flowers is supposed to be on of KC’s best defenders. It is time he starts acting like it.

*See what I did there?

Alright, Addicts. Those are my five players to watch.

Who are yours?