The Raiders are a real team this year, even involved in the AFC playoff picture (kinda). Oakland is in a lot of trouble in the playoff picture if they lose this game while the Chiefs will be in the thick of it either way.
Here's what Levi said about Sunday's game. Find my answers to his questions here.
AP: What changed with the Raiders between last year and this year?
S&BP: How long do you want this answer to be? Cuz, we could be here a while trying to answer a question like that. Here, I know, I will say what's NOT changed, so this answer will fit in something smaller than a five-part series. Charles Woodson is still playing strong safety. The left side of the line is still Donald Penn and Gabe Jackson. And as of when the Raiders played the Chiefs last season, Latavius Murray is still the starting running back. Aaand, that's about it. Everything else is different. Even Derek Carr is not the same quarterback he was as a rookie.
AP: What are the expectation levels of Raiders fans right now? Are they happy with the progress or do they think this team should be better?
S&BP: Most are pretty pleased with the progress. We're talking about a team that went 3-13 last season, hasn't had a winning season in 13 years, and hasn't been in the playoff conversation since the new regime took over. Hopes are always high, but expectations not nearly as high. Adding weapons on offense to surround Derek Carr who had shown some promise last last season helped raise expectations some. Most fan predictions hovered between 6-10 and 8-8 and the Raiders are within reach of that range at this point.
AP: Is Derek Carr the real deal? What's his ceiling?
S&BP: Following the Jets game this season, I had seen enough to say Derek Carr is the real deal. I am not one to predict ceilings, but it's pretty high. There are Pro Bowls and playoffs in his future. What I was hoping to see from him this season was significant progress. I saw progress early in the season and following the bye week, he showed even more progress. Most notably in his deep ball. It was that one itch he hadn't scratched. He has shown several times this season that he has found his stroke on the deep ball. With the progress he has shown, I believe his best football is in front of him.
AP: You're the Chiefs offensive coordinator. How are you attacking the Raiders defense?
S&BP: Going to the air is probably the best bet. Travis Kelce is a good place to start. And lucky for me (as Chiefs OC), he is also my quarterback's favorite target. So, that works out nicely. Then a steady dose of screens should do the trick, which is also very much in my quarterback's wheelhouse. Then I'll find whichever wide receiver is not being covered by TJ Carrie or David Amerson, and throw it to that guy. After those two, the Raiders cornerbacks get pretty suspect. I would just tell Alex Smith of the tale of Brett Favre and how I was his backup when Favre's father died and he had his classic win in Oakland in 2003.
AP: What's your prediction for the game?
S&BP: Based solely on how these two teams have performed lately, the Chiefs should handle the Raiders pretty well. But as we know, these two teams always play each other tough, so it could be a close one. I still see the Chiefs taking it. Let's go Chiefs 23, Raiders 17