Oakland Raiders preview: Raiders welcome Chiefs to Oakland with first place in the AFC West at stake

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP photo: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is jubilant after throwing a second half touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree last Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum

OAKLAND, Calif — With the Denver Broncos (4-2) losing to the Chargers (2-4) 21-13 in San Diego Thursday night, the Raiders have a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West with a win Sunday over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs  at the Oakland Coliseum.

Kickoff is set at 1:05 p.m. PT.

The Raiders had to rely on a botched field goal attempt by San Diego last Sunday to preserve a 34-31 home win over the visiting Chargers.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr completed 25-of-40 passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against a banged up Chargers’ defense that carried 14 players on injured reserve.

Carr has definitely stepped up his game in year three, ranking in the top-1o in the league in passing touchdown passes (11; ranking fourth), passing yards (1,383; ranking eighth) and passer rating (102.3; ranking 11th) through the first five games this season.

Carr is engineering the NFL’s fourth ranked offense, averaging 28.4 points per game.

These are one of those “benchmark” games that will determine if Oakland is a definite contender in the AFC this year, as Carr recently told 95.7 the Game via the Raiders’ official website.

“Huge test for us, and that’s the thing, that’s the mindset,” Carr said this week. “We’ve got to stay focused, we’re getting a team we haven’t beaten in two years coming to our place,” Carr further explained.

“That’s a big deal, that’s a huge deal, they had our number last year, they beat us twice and that’s what they earned. We can’t sit here and look at records and pat ourselves on the back, we’re playing a team we have not beat.”

Oakland, winners of three straight games, are off to their best start at 4-1 since the 2002 season when the Raiders appeared in the Super Bowl.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio thinks there is still room for improvement, but likes what he has seen from his squad so far this season.

“I think we have a healthy perspective of what we want to look like and knowing that we’re not quite there,” Del Rio said recently via CBSSports.com. “There is a lot of work in front of us. I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. A lot of things we must do better as we go forward. We’re working hard at it.”

Kansas City (2-2) are coming off a bye week in Week 5, but have been one of the hardest teams to figure out through the first quarter of the year.

After looking like world-beaters by forcing eight turnovers (six interceptions) in a 24-3 win over Ryan Fitzpatrick and New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3, the Chiefs allowed 300 yards through the air and five touchdown passes from Ben Rothelisberger in a 43-14 loss in Pittsburgh in Week 4.

But Kansas City  may have the secret formula to slow down Oakland in the form of head coach Andy Reid, whose teams are 15-2 coming off a bye week.

“Every year is different,” Reid said per the Kansas City Star. “It’s situational, who you play and where you play. I don’t even look at that.”

Since arriving in Kansas City in 2013, Reid is 5-1 against Oakland as Kansas City’s head coach. With a win, Reid will move into 13th place on the NFL all-time wins list for coaches passing former Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks head coach, Mike Holmgren, a coaching mentor to Reid.

Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith has performed well in the past against Oakland, sporting a 7-1 record against the Raiders throwing 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Smith is 2-1 in Oakland, throwing nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. This season, Smith has thrown for 1,073 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions with a passer rating of 87.7.

The Silver and Black can have their hands full against a Kansas City team that took both meetings from Oakland last season, a 34-20 win in the Bay Area in Week 13, and a 23-17 victory in Kansas City in Week 17.

Including the postseason, Kansas City leads the all-time series between these two fierce rivals, 60-52-2.

Kansas City’s 17th ranked defense sports one of the game’s best young players in West Oakland native, cornerback Marcus Peters, the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year who leads the NFL with four interceptions this season.

Peters should see a lot of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, but the real battle will be between Peters and the Raiders other wide receiver, Amari Cooper. Two of the best young players at their positions should be fun to watch.

Peters returned an interception 58 yards and broke up two passes in Oakland last season.




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