From the diaries. -Chris
It's Raider Week everyone. Time to put the children to bed because Darth Vader plays for the Raiders (Yes...that is Darth Vader shaking hands with Al Davis on the field before a game)? The Raiders started out pretty well and were even in first place as recently as last week. That all changed when they were brought back to reality last week against the San Diego Chargers. Alas, this is still the pesky Raiders, and regardless of either team's current standing, this has always been a good game.
We must not take these guys lightly. Eight victories in a row against these guys doesn't mean anything now. Their defense is legit this year. Daunte Culpepper has brought life to the offense and is the Chiefs worst nightmare: a mobile quarterback. Our defense is different this year. We're actually good. Jared Allen is having a monster year, despite his two-game suspension. Donnie Edwards has instilled life into the revamped LB crew. Surtain is Surtain, and Ty Law has been average so far this season. Page and Pollard have continued to have success in the secondary as well. Well, here goes nothing..
When the Chiefs Have the Ball
We should be able to run the ball against these guys. You've seen the stats on these guys. Nmandi Asomugha and Fabian Washington are good. Really good. Maybe the best corner tandem in the league, save Denver. Asomugha is big (6'2", which is huge for a corner) and physical. He was a safety coming out of college, and the Raiders turned him into a corner. In the 2nd half of last season and the beginning of this season, he has really started to come into his own. He can certainly hang with D. Bowe so that will be a problem. Asomugha, along with Fabian Washington, who is a burner, will create problems for us in the vertical passing game. Tony Gonzalez will be huge this game. We have to utilize him to neutralize Kirk Morrison one of the more underrated LBs in the league.
LJ will get his yards, but as Chris has mentioned before, we can't expect him to be able to churn those yards out when we need to get a first down or burn the clock. If LJ can get his yards this game, and keep their defense on the field, then we will most certainly win this game. However, if LJ breaks off a couple big runs and can't stabilize the Chiefs running attack through more than just one half of football, then we're going to need some help from our defense in this game.
When the Raiders Have the Ball
We can dominate this game on defense. The Raiders have a below average offense. Culpepper has inserted a bit of life into them recently, but they're still the same old Raiders at heart. Lamont Jordan, Dominic Rhodes (where's he been?) and Justin Fargas are all capable backs. Jordan is a threat to catch the ball out of the back field and barrel over a few Chiefs defenders.
Their WRs are okay. Our secondary can certainly contain them, as long as we DON'T BITE ON THE BOOTLEG. I had to get that out of the way. To me, that is the only way we lose this game. That damn bootleg seems to cripple our defense regardless of our personnel on the field. When they run bootleg, it allows Daunte to get into the open field with options. He can run, dump off to a back like Jordan, or hit receivers anywhere on the field after our secondary has bit on the play action. We need to take away Daunte's options. Limit him. We don't have to contain him, we can STOP him. Allen and Hali have improved enough that we can stop this damn bootleg. If Lane Kiffin and Tom Walsh have learned anything watching our defense, it's that the play action bootleg can beat us (why hasn't every team in the league figured this out?). Oh, and for anyone who might have been thinking that their offensive line is not good enough to handle the play action bootleg, their offensive coordinator Tom Cable has revamped the line. Robert Gallery is playing like the 2nd pick in the draft now that he is a guard.
Regardless, our defense should win this battle at the line of scrimmage. Allen has been hot and let's hope we can hit Daunte enough that he doesn't even want to run outside the pocket.
Good old Dustin Colquitt. While having the best punter in the league isn't necessarily something to brag about as he only comes onto the field when the offense has failed, but he is a weapon. We can pin these Raiders deep. This offense cannot go 80+ yards on us. Mark that down as a fact. Dave Rayner has been money this game, and with a defense like the Raiders, a few field goals will probably come in handy. Sebastian Janikowski, a former first round pick by the way, has an extremely strong leg and can certainly get a few touch backs this game. I think I speak for most AP readers when I say that doesn't bother me. What, Eddie Drummond was going to return one? Give me a break. I don't even know who their punter is, and it probably doesn't matter much. We don't return anything anyway. But that punter, whoever he is, will certainly get a lot of action on Sunday.
Lane Kiffin is young. Very young. The youngest coach in the league takes over a team that went 2-14 last year and had little hope for this year. But he is turning them around. A former USC coordinator, Kiffin, at 32 years old, has given some of these Raiders fans (and the players for that matter) a reason to believe. Herm on the other hand, has been here for two years and is molding the team into his likeness. Solid defense, conservative (not bad) offense. I'm going with Herm on this one, simply because he has had another year with his players. But Kiffin looks good.
I don't even know why I write this. The Raiders are cursed by the ghost of Al Davis (What? You say he's not dead? Take a look at this man and tell me he's not dead. Eww. Is that Al Davis or Montgomery Burns?) Anyway, something always goes wrong with these Raiders. Get ready for the ball to be rolling our way Chiefs fans.
Prediction: Chiefs 24 Raiders 13
The Chiefs should be able to walk into the Black Hole and come away with a victory. Even the hiring of Lane Kiffin can't help these guys. It seems like they could have all the talent in the world on this team (see: Randy Moss) yet still get nowhere. My prediction is there. Now, let's hear yours.
P.S. Are YOU a Raider Hater?