On Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders will host the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC West rivalry game. Earlier this season, the Raiders won on the road 26-16. However, the Chiefs have won eight of their last nine games in Oakland.
In the teams' first meeting, the Raiders set the tone in the running game. Darren McFadden rushed 29 times for 114 yards in the win. McFadden is listed as probable for the game after he re-injured his high ankle sprain against the Denver Broncos. This week the Raiders will likely try to execute the same game plan, which will be a heavy dose of McFadden and the running game. However, the Raiders have been terrible this season in their rushing offense, only accounting for 81.2 yards per game, which is 30th in the NFL. The Chiefs defense surrenders 131.2 yards per game in rushing defense which is 27th in the league.
Quarterback Carson Palmer only completed 14 of 28 passes for 209 yards in the first meeting, but was able to take advantage of some big plays. He connected with wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey on a 32 yard touchdown and found Denarius Moore for a 58 yard gain to set up a field goal. That may be the only way the Raiders can move the ball through the air against a solid Chiefs pass defense. Kansas City allows only 218.2 passing yards per game, good for 9th in the NFL. The Raiders offensive line played well in the first meeting to allow Palmer to find receivers down the field. They did not allow a sack and will need to keep Palmer upright to duplicate their success.
Defensively, Oakland reinstated middle linebacker Rolando McClain after his two game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. McClain will serve as a back-up to Omar Gaither and play on special teams. He has his work cut out for him to get back into the coaching staff's good graces, but it will start this Sunday. Linebacker Philip Wheeler had 11 tackles and a sack in the first meeting to pace the defense. They got to Matt Cassell, who replaced Brady Quinn after a head injury, three times. Quinn is back and will start this week.
The Chiefs offense is predicated on their running game, ranked 5th in the NFL at 149.2 yards per game. Running back Jamaal Charles is their best weapon, but has held to just four yards on five carries in the first meeting. Obviously, that should change on Sunday. If the Raiders can again take away the Kansas City rushing attack, they should be in great position to win. The Chiefs will be without wide receiver Dwayne Bowe with broken ribs, hurting a pass offense already ranked 31st in the league averaging just 186.4 yards per game.
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