Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackAlex Smith and the Chiefs got back in the win column after a three-game losing streak. There was no panic in Kansas City since two of the three losses were to the high-powered Broncos, but there would have been if they had lost to the Redskins. Smith is proving to be the perfect quarterback for Reid because he plays with maturity and he avoids mistakes.Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor have both given the Raiders a lift this year, but neither one has done enough to turn the Raiders into winners. McGloin is a surprisingly accurate passer who has not been overwhelmed, while Pryor is a much better passer than he is given credit for and he’s also an excellent athlete.
- OffenseThe Chiefs want to establish the run with Jamaal Charles, and he has been consistently productive. Charles has explosive speed and he is not afraid to run between the tackles. He has run for 1,162 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dwayne Bowe leads the Chiefs with 49 catches and he is starting to pick it up after struggling early in the season. Donnie Avery plays with effort and can make the tough catch.The Raiders have not played with consistency on offense and that has hurt the development of McGloin and Pryor. Rashad Jennings has run for 588 yards and has done a decent job, but he is not a gamebreaker. Rod Streater has caught 50 passes for 787 yards and three touchdowns. He can make the tough catch in traffic.
- DefenseThe Chiefs have fallen to 20th in yards allowed, and that’s troubling. However, the Chiefs are capable of putting big plays together and that’s why they were able to play so well early in the year. Middle linebacker Derrick Johnson leads the team with 96 tackles and he also has 3.5 sacks. The Chiefs are hoping Justin Houston (11.5 sacks) can return for this game after dislocating his elbow.The Raiders had a terrible game in Week 14 against the Jets, but they have generally played very competitive football on defense. They rank 18thin yards allowed, and they hustle all over the field to make plays. Nobody has been more productive than middle linebacker Nick Roach, who leads the team with 98 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Cornerback Tracy Porter has 14 passes defensed and two interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Chiefs have had exceptional special teams performances throughout the season. Dexter McCluster has two punt returns for touchdowns, while Quintin Demps has a kickoff return for a score. Ryan Succop has been adequate, making 21-of-25 FG attempts.The Raiders have been ordinary in their special teams play, and that could be a huge issue against the Chiefs. Jacoby Ford is a fast returner, but he has not had a return longer than 30 yards this season. Sebastian Janikowski has not been at his best this season, having made just 18-of-26 FG attempts.
The Chiefs rolled early in the season because they took care of business against teams that were below average. Don’t expect that to change here. The Raiders are simply too inconsistent and the Chiefs will not make mistakes against them. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor