Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Kansas City Chiefs At Oakland Raiders

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs hands the ball off to teammate Kareem Hunt #27 during the second half of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. ( Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images )
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    Alex Smith is enjoying a wonderful year leading the Kansas City offense, and he is showing a new dimension to his game this season. Instead of managing the game and throwing short passes, Smith has managed to stretch the field and attack the secondary with velocity and accuracy. Smith knows how to avoid mistakes and he is making more big plays than he has at any point in his Kansas City tenure.
    Derek Carr should be back in the lineup for the Raiders, and this game is clearly one the Raiders must have. However, Carr is not 100 percent as a result of the broken bone in his back, and the Raiders must find a way to protect him at all costs. When Carr gets adequate time from his offensive line, he is going to be able to hit his receivers in stride and make game-changing plays.
  • Offense
    The Chiefs have found a go-to running back with speed and power in rookie Kareem Hunt, and he appears to be in a great position to win the rookie of the year award. Hunt has made big plays as a runner and a receiver. The Kansas City offense gets a huge boost from explosive wideout Tyreek Hill (concussion), but his status has not been decided. Travis Kelce is one of the top tight ends in the league.
    The Raiders want to be aggressive and physical, and running back Marshawn Lynch can provide that aspect for the offense, especially if he gets off to a good start. Wideout Michael Crabtree is having a solid year and knows how to get open against tight coverage, but Amari Cooper is struggling to make plays and he is not happy with his role this season.
  • Defense
    The Chiefs are giving up yardage, but they are coming up with big plays that blunt opponents’ drives in critical situations. OLB Justin Houston is the key to the Kansas City defense because he is an outstanding pass rusher who can impose his will on the game with his ability to get around the corner. Derrick Johnson is one of the top tacklers in the game, while Marcus Peters can shut down top receivers.
    The Raiders have to pick up their play on the defensive side because the offense can’t do it all, especially with Carr at less than 100 percent. Khalil Mack is a dynamic player with the ability to crush quarterbacks and also do a solid job against the run. The secondary needs quite a bit of work as CBs David Amerson and Sean Smith are both vulnerable in coverage.
  • Special Teams
    The Chiefs are very dangerous with their special teams, as Hill has the ability to hit a home run on punt returns because of his ability to accelerate and change directions. Harrison Butker is doing a solid job filling in for injured Cairo Santos.
    The Raiders are doing a solid job on special teams, and that must continue if they hope to take down the Chiefs. P Marquette King has the strongest leg in the league, but he has to make sure to kick the ball far away from Hill. Giorgio Tavecchio is a find at the PK position.
The Raiders have to figure out a way to keep this game close through the first three quarters and then take charge in the fourth quarter. That is a difficult assignment against the Chiefs, who know how to do whatever it takes to win.