By. Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — After dispatching fellow AFC West foe the San Diego Chargers 27-17 last week at home, the Oakland Raiders (2-3) hit the road to take on another AFC West foe, the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) Sunday at Arrowhead. Oakland is seeking their seventh straight win in Kansas City, dating back to 2007.
With former incumbent quarterback Matt Flynn being released on Monday, the Raiders have officially become Terrelle Pryor’s team. On the Flynn experiment, head coach Dennis Allen mentioned “it just didn’t work” during the team’s press conference Monday.
Pryor looked good in the pocket while playing the best football of his career last Sunday night against San Diego, completing 18-of-23 passes for 221 yards and two first quarter touchdowns.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, Pryor currently ranks fourth in the NFL in completion percentage, completing 72.7 percent of his passes from the pocket, which is higher than more accomplish quarterbacks such as Drew Brees (69.7), Matt Ryan (69.3), and Aaron Rodgers (66.4).
The one player that will give Oakland its best chance at collecting their seventh straight win at Arrowhead is wide receiver Denarius Moore.
In Oakland’s 26-16 victory last season at Arrowhead, Moore played a vital role in the win, hauling in 96 yards on five catches including a nine-yard touchdown grab. Over the past three games, Moore has 20 catches for 274 receiving yards (18 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. Moore is Pryor’s first option when he drops back to pass.
First-year Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has pumped new blood into Kansas City after their dismal 2-14 season a year ago.
Kansas City took down the Tennessee Titans, 26-17 in Nashville last week, and is playing great football which will be a huge challenge for the Silver and Black.
After playing musical chairs at quarterback, Kansas City traded a conditional second round pick in next year’s draft for former San Francisco 49ers’ No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Alex Smith. Smith isn’t your typical strong-armed quarterback (18th-best quarterback according to nfl.com), but has been very accurate for Kansas City. Smith has thrown seven touchdowns and only three interceptions, but the offense isn’t what makes this team click.
Its the seventh ranked defense (first in points scored against per game at 11.6) in the NFL that has Kansas City running on all cylinders.
Linebacker Justin Houston is the straw that stirs the drink for Kansas City’s defense. Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks and will no doubt be keeping his eyes on Pryor’s every move. Fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson leads Kansas City with 35 tackles (31 solo).
Kansas City’s has a very formidable defensive line led by defensive end Tamba Hali and rookie defensive tackle, Dontari Poe. Facing the Chiefs defense won’t be a day at the park for Oakland.
Oakland has got to play near flawless football if they expect to leave Arrowhead with a 3-3 record heading into their bye week next week.
Player to Watch for Oakland:
No. 24) Charles Woodson (FS) — The reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week is still playing at a high level at this stage of his career. Against San Diego, Woodson tied the NFL’s all-time record for defensive touchdowns when he recovered a third-quarter fumble, giving him 13 for his career. Woodson’s fourth-quarter interception sealed the win for Oakland.
Player to Watch for Kansas City:
No. 24) Brandon Flowers (CB) — Flowers is one of the better cornerbacks in the league that no one really talks about since he plays in a small market like Kansas City. Flowers has the ability to take the opposing team’s best wide receiver and shut him down for the game. Expect Flowers to shadow Denarius Moore for much of the game.