The rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders has lasted 107 hard-fought, heated games thus far. Sunday will be the 108th when the Chiefs take the field against the Raiders, who have dropped their last six contests.
That last win for the Raiders? A 26-16 road win against the Chiefs on Oct. 28.
Head coach Dennis Allen hopes his team can find the same fate on Sunday to get his team back into the win column in front of their final game in front of the Raider Nation at home.
Much to Allen’s viewing displeasure, the Chiefs have had similar success on the road in the rivalry as of late, posting a 8-2 record over their last 10 trips to Oakland.
Kansas City is coming off of a tough couple of weeks following the well-documented tragedy that hit the Chiefs organization on Dec. 1.
Oakland is coming off an extended week after facing the Broncos on Thursday Night Football last week and hopes that the added preparation time will get his team back on the winning side of the outcome.
The Raiders defense will need to find a way to contain running back Jamaal Charles the same way they did during their last matchup. Charles finished with just five carries for four yards. Charles is capable of running the distance on any play and is the leading rusher in the AFC with 1,220 rushing yards on the season.
Kansas City will likely lean on Charles and the rushing attack even more with wide receiver Dewayne Bowe out with a rib injury.
Oakland’s defense will have to maintain gap control in order to keep from letting Charles getting into the secondary and making guys miss.
Brady Quinn gets the start again for the Chiefs after the Raiders knocked him out of their previous contest, putting Matt Cassel in the game. Quinn finished just 2/4 for one yard and one interception before leaving the game early on Oct. 28.
The (lack of) rushing attack has been a big part of the demise of the Raiders offense this year. In fact, the Raiders have reached 100-yards rushing three times all season, and just once since the Raiders last took on the Chiefs over a month ago. That was also Darren McFadden’s last 100-yard rushing day.
McFadden hopes to find similar running room against the Chiefs this week after rushing for 114 yards last contest between the two rivals. If the rushing attack can get going some it would be beneficial in slowing down the Chiefs pass rush that features linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The Chiefs have 31 sacks on the season, good enough for tenth in the NFL. Hali and Houston have combined for 18 of the 31 sacks.
The Raiders offensive line will have to find a way to contain Hail and Houston to give Carson Palmer adequate time to throw the ball and keep him off his back.
The wide receiving corps will also have to fix their repeated mistakes such as drops and running wrong routes. Denarius Moore has continued to not be on the same page with Palmer and has even caught a case of the drops that have recently re-found fellow wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Palmer won’t have former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt on the other side of the ball this time around as he was released by the Chiefs earlier this season. Palmer and the offense continuously picked on Routt, earning big plays and penalties on him last contest.
There’s a chance Terrelle Pryor could see his first NFL regular-season playing time come Sunday, should their be the right opportunity to insert him. Allen stated after the Broncos game that there had been a package for Pryor but the right moment had not shown up yet.
It remains to be seen how much playing time Rolando McClain will receive, should he even be active after coming off of a coach-instilled two-game suspension. Allen has already stated that McClain is coming back as the backup middle linebacker to Omar Gaither.
This will be the Raiders last chance to give the home crowd a win as they head out on the road to finish their struggling 2012 season.