Let's get to know the Oakland Raiders a little bit.
The KC Chiefs are making the trip out to Oakland where they're underdogs against the Raiders. The Raiders beat the Chiefs earlier this season, 26-16, which would be impressive if the Chiefs hadn't already been blown out by everyone else (the four touchdown loss to Tampa Bay still stings a little).
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I talked to Levi Damien, who is a terrific reporter for our Raiders blog, Silver and Black Pride, trying to figure out a little more about what the Raidahs are gonna try to do on Sunday. I encourage you to visit Silver and Black Pride -- Levi does a great job. Even for a Raiders fan. My answers to his questions can be read here.
Raiders offense sounds like a Chiefs problem
One thing I found out is that Oakland has similar receiver issues as the Chiefs. Their best one -- right now, at least -- might be an undrafted guy named Rod Streater, nearly topping 200 yards and a touchdown in the last two games.
Wonder if he's as good as Jamar Newsome, the Chiefs undrafted receiver? Streater is clearly better than Jon Baldwin, at least according to the numbers. (Good grief, that's depressing.)
Also familiar on the Raiders offense is the center, Stefen Wisniewski, who I wanted the Chiefs to draft back in 2011. "Stefen Wisniewski is really coming into his own at center," Levi said. "He struggled early in the season along with the rest of the line but he has played quite well of late." He was a 2011 second round pick. The Chiefs went with Rodney Hudson instead.
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Raiders missing Stanford Routt on defense? Nah
The Raiders apparently do not miss Stanford Routt. I asked Levi to tell me a little something about the defense and he was excited about the secondary.
"[Defensive back] Phillip Adams will be getting the first start of his career on Sunday and he has earned it," Levi said. "He has had an interception in each of the past two weeks in fill in duties. The team liked him so much, they waived Ron Bartell who was initially the number one corner on this team. He and Michael Huff and Joselio Hanson might surprise you at how well they can defend. The issue in the secondary usually occurs in the soft spots in the zone when the corners look to hand their receiver over to the safeties. The other issue is the scheme not allowing for any mistakes without giving up huge plays."
So ... the chances of the Chiefs capitalizing on those soft spots in the zone? Uh, not very good. Especially without Dwayne Bowe.
'I can honestly say there isn't one'
As a Chiefs fan, I loved this next part of our conversation. I asked Levi what the Raiders do well, what area of the team he is really excited about. The response: "I can honestly say there isn't one."
That's different from the Chiefs because I think we can point to promising areas of the team. For example, having two edge rushers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston is going to be an important part of any success the Chiefs have down the road. Or Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs seem talented when you look at each player -- they just suck as a team.
"There are glaring deficiencies in every aspect of the Raiders both on offense and defense," Levi continued. "I will give you a couple players though: Marcel Reece and Lamarr Houston. These are the sparkplugs of this team. The offense is at its best when Reece is involved and the defense is at its best when Houston is making plays."
I chuckled a little at that part about Reece. Always kinda funny to see an undrafted guy contributing so much while your $60 million man is sittin' on the sidelines.