Thanks to Levi over at SB Nation’s Raiders blog, Silver and Black Pride, for answering my Chiefs-Raiders questions today. Our Q&A is below. You can find my answers to Levi’s questions here.
What's different about the Raiders from the last time the Chiefs saw them?
Well, they'll be without Amari Cooper, who had a career game against them in Week 7. They could also be without David Amerson, but he was terrible in that game, so that may or may not play a major factor. They should have Marshawn Lynch the entire game this time. And it's a rejuvenated Marshawn now. He's been playing more like Beast Mode the past few games and getting more carries as well. The offensive line has looked much improved as well, which also plays into Marshawn's improved play. They had NaVorro Bowman in the previous meeting, but it was his first game with just three practices under his belt. He's more settled in now as you might expect. Oh, and they have a new Defensive Coordinator. We'll see how much difference that makes. They've looked at their best the past two games since John Pagano took over for Ken Norton Jr, but they were also facing Paxton Lynch and Geno Smith, so I'm not ready to take much from those performances.
So did Amari Cooper torch the Chiefs and nobody else this season?
Yes. He has been practically irrelevant most of the season outside of that game, which wasn't just a season high, but a career high for him. He had 7 dropped passes in the first four games alone, and is about to miss essentially his third straight game due to injury. I say third because he got his concussion in the second quarter against the Broncos two weeks ago. He also suffered an ankle injury on that play and that's what has him out again. Nagging lower leg injuries have been a problem for Coop. It was a knee injury earlier this season that likely contributed to his drops. I say that because he had an ankle injury late in his rookie season that caused him to tail off late and drop quite a few passes then too.
The Chiefs desperately need to get the run game going. Will they be able to vs. the Raiders?
I'm not sure they should focus on it too much, honestly. The Chiefs strength is their pass offense and that's also the Raiders' biggest weakness. The Raiders have allowed over 100 yards rushing just once the past seven games. That being said, it's crazy to see what's happened with Kareem Hunt. He was unstoppable early in the season, and had decent numbers against the Raiders too.
What's the report on Derek Carr, is he worth the money so far?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is maybe. As is often the case, how much a QB gets paid is based on timing. His upward trajectory showed he deserved to be locked in as a franchise QB. And when that happens, that QB will be the highest paid at his position. And that means, as a QB, the highest paid player in NFL history. At least for a couple months anyway. The change in coordinator has caused him to regress and in many ways he has begun showing the same issues he had as a rookie. It's a comfort thing. Todd Downing gets most of the criticism, but Carr shoulders some blame as well. He can't always go into the tank with a little adversity.
What is your score prediction fo the game?
I was pretty down on the Raiders in their previous meeting with the Chiefs, expecting a blowout. Then they played like they were just holding back until the faced the Chiefs. Since then the Chiefs have seemingly fallen apart while the Raiders have shown improvement. Lightning striking twice in the same spot may be highly unlikely, but I'm gonna go with the same score. Raiders 31, Chiefs 30