The Chiefs have seriously cranked up the running game as Jamaal Charles is averaging 120 yards in his last four outings. The Raiders are 12th in the league against the run, but Charles still managed to rush for 78 yards and two touchdowns in 22 carries the first time they met, and he was far from full strength because of foot blisters. Look for the Chiefs to try to pound away here.
|Chiefs’ top rusher||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
Alex Smith has been excellent the last three weeks, completing 66 percent of his passes for 724 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. He’s also been attacking downfield more, and it’s helped open up the run game. Meanwhile, the Raiders have a league-average pass rush and have allowed opponents to post a 98.8 quarterback rating, the worst in the league.
|Chiefs’ top QB||C||A||Yds.||TD-I|
|Chiefs’ top WR||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
Fullback Marcel Reece proved to be a capable runner against the Jets, has he racked up 123 yards — 63 of which came on a touchdown. He’ll probably see his role diminished with the likely return of running back Rashad Jennings from concussion; but either way, the Raiders can run the ball. The Chiefs bottled up the Raiders somewhat the first time around, and with quarterback Terrelle Pryor — who gained 56 yards in the first matchup — splitting snaps, the Chiefs could do so again.
|Raiders’ top rusher||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
The Raiders struggled mightily to protect Pryor in the first matchup against the Chiefs, yielding nine sacks. Several did not come on the kind of traditional passing plays new starter Matt McGloin will be running. Pryor, however, will still receive some snaps, and the Chiefs’ pass rush seemed reinvigorated against Washington, racking up six sacks after struggling for five games in a row.
|Raiders’ top QB||C||A||Yds.||TD-I|
|Raiders’ top WR||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
The Raiders used to trot out strong special teams on a regular basis, but times have changed. Sebastian Janikowski has only made 18 of 26 field goals, while Marquette King has had two punts blocked. Throw in a lack of return touchdowns — the Chiefs have four this year — and it’s clear the Chiefs have the edge here.Coaching EDGE >> CHIEFS
Coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson have the Chiefs’ offense humming along recently, while defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s unit got its mojo back against a Washington squad in turmoil. Oakland coach Dennis Allen hasn’t had much to work with the last two years, but his team has lost five of its last six games and will miss the playoffs for the 11th straight season.X-factor EDGE >> RAIDERS
The Raiders have lost three straight but have generally played teams pretty tough at home. O.co Coliseum can be an intimidating place to play, and despite the Raiders’ 4-9 record, the game will be a sellout — the Raiders’ seventh of the season.Bottom line: Chiefs 31-16
Home-field advantage aside, the Raiders don’t have a ton going for them this week. Oakland has lost three games in a row and with Denver’s loss on Thursday, the Chiefs still have an outside shot at the AFC West title.
Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org