Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackThe Raiders have had serious needs at the quarterback position for years, and while Terrelle Pryor may not be the ultimate answer, he is a credible athlete who can play the game well enough to keep the Raiders competitive. He needs to improve his accuracy and footwork to become a good quarterback, because he is not there yet.Alex Smith has been sensational for the Chiefs, and he has probably given them far more than Andy Reid could have hoped for when they acquired him. He did not have his best game vs. the Titans in Week Five when he threw for 245 yards and an interception, but Smith kept the offense on track and the Chiefs found a way to stay undefeated.
- OffenseThe Raiders would like to establish their ground game with Darren McFadden to take a bit of the pressure off of Pryor. McFadden is an effective inside runner, but there are always concerns about injuries. Denarius Moore is a decent receiver, but he is not a game changer. Tight end Mychal Rivera is an interesting third-down weapon who is becoming more of a factor in the Oakland attack.Reid knows how to use a speed back and Jamaal Charles certainly qualifies. Charles is a threat to take any carry to the house once he gets to the second level. Donnie Avery is a legitimate receiving threat who can make the tough catch in traffic. Dwayne Bowe still plays a role in the offense, but he lacks the heart to make game-changing plays.
- DefenseThe Raiders are not the most talented defense, but they play hard every game. They look to ancient defensive back Charles Woodson and he is responding with a solid year. He is a hard-hitting tackler, and while he has lost a step in coverage, he has excellent instinct. Former Chicago Bear Nick Roach has turned into a mainstay on the Raiders as a result of his dependable tackling.The Chiefs have been able to mount a solid pass rush, and that’s one of the big keys to their success through five games. Pryor is going to have to be concerned about outside linebacker Justin Houston, who already has 8.5 sacks. Derrick Johnson is a big-time middle linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline to make plays. Strong safety Eric Berry had five tackles vs. the Titans and has excellent range.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have struggled with their kickoff and punt coverage and that could have an impact against the Chiefs. Sebastian Janikowski has one of the strongest legs in the league, but he has been a bit inconsistent. Marquette King is a decent punter.The Chiefs have excellent special teams and they have been quite solid in coverage through the early part of the season. Dexter McCluster is an explosive returner who can exploit any weakness the Raiders show. Ryan Succop has proven to be a very dependable kicker and Reid trusts him.
The Chiefs have passed every test they have had so far this season, and the Raiders offer another one. The Raiders are not as strong or as effective as the Chiefs, so the temptation would be to take them lightly. They can’t do that if they want to stay undefeated. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor