Thanks to Levi over at Silver and Black Pride for answering my Chiefs-Raiders questions. Here’s our Q&A below:
AP: Is Jack Del Rio on the hot seat?
SBP: I'm gonna say no. For two reasons: He just got an extension last offseason and Mark Davis has shown unusual patience before. He kept Dennis Allen for a third season when every indication was he should have fired him after two seasons. Del Rio has made a lot of questionable decisions.
The most recent being to let Bill Musgrave go in favor of Todd Downing despite the team having the sixth ranked offense last season. But the middle linebacker issue continues to baffle everyone. Del Rio was a middle linebacker, as was Reggie McKenzie, and yet neither seems to value the position. Or they just think they're smarter than everyone else and therefore can uncover talent at middle linebacker others can't. The defense has been far too poor since Del Rio took over as head coach. As a former defensive coordinator, much better is expected.
AP: What are the top two reasons the Raiders are struggling?
SBP: 1) the offense. 2) the defense. I kid, I kid (sorta).
The top reason is the offensive scheme. Todd Downing changed the offense unnecessarily. He added more outside zone and less power blocking, so the once dominant offensive line hasn't looked nearly as good. He basically never uses play action and never tests downfield. The Raiders offense is the worst in both categories in the NFL.
The next reason is lack of turnovers. They don't have a single interception this season and have forced just three fumbles on defense. And facing Alex Smith who hasn't thrown an interception all season is not the time to expect that to change.
AP: The Chiefs could be down their top pass blocking running back. What should we expect from the Raiders pass rush?
SBP: I expect Khalil Mack to do what Khalil Mack does. He will get pressure, but teams have done well to play around him. The Raiders haven't cracked the code on the short passing game. Whether it's the running back or the tight end, they are routinely open for dumps and screens for chunk plays.
As far as the Raiders getting sacks, they haven't done much of that the past two weeks. They had just one sack against the Chargers (Bruce Irvin) and none against the Ravens. In both cases, they were close on several instances, but Flacco and Rivers were able to find an open receiver at the last instant and get the ball out. That speaks to the aforementioned poor coverage in the short game than it does the Raiders' pass rushers.
AP: The Chiefs are having trouble stopping the run. What are you expecting out of the Raiders run game?
SBP: Based on the past couple weeks, Marshawn Lynch will run well early on, but the Raiders will get desperate and abandon the run. That's the main reason the Raiders haven't had a 100-yard performance all season. It's hard to put up triple digits rushing when you're barely getting double digit touches.
AP: What's your prediction for the game?
SBP: It will be in Oakland Thursday night at 5:25 pm Pacific time. You can take that prediction to the bank.
Also, the Raiders are going to be slaughtered so bad their jerseys will be redder than the Chiefs.
Alex Smith or Derek Carr?
This poll is closed