Week 6 Preview: Raiders @ Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There’s been a buzz in the air throughout the week that arguably hasn’t been felt around these parts in a while.

Of course, it’s not hard for a team and fans to be on a high entering Week Six with a perfect record, the first since the 2003 season when the Chiefs started 9-0.

Sep 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans show their support during the game against the New York Giants at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans show their support during the game against the New York Giants at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

But the excitement amplifies when considering the Chiefs host a familiar foe.

“It is Raider week,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said earlier in the week. “I’m all about rivalries, I get it. It’s exciting. I know our fans are going to be crazy, I know that. Our players are going to be fired up for it.”

The players are also aware of who’s coming to town.

“I grew up in San Diego, so I’m very familiar with the AFC West and a little bit about what it’s about,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said this week. “I’m excited; rivalries in the game of football are what makes it special at every level.”

Chiefs safety Quintin Demps compared the atmosphere of a rivalry game to the postseason.

“Any time you play somebody that has the magnitude of this kind of game, it just takes it up a notch,” Demps said. “It’s like a playoff game. It’s going to be a fight out there.”

Still, while it’s easy to discount records and statistics whenever two teams with a history collide, there’s no ignoring what the Raiders have done at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders have won six straight games at Arrowhead since a 20-17 win on Nov. 25, 2007 and even the players on both sides are surprised to hear that number.

“I didn’t know that until recently,” Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “I just know that this game is always a tough game. It’s always a hard fought game, a game that both teams look forward to. I’m not surprised that the Raiders have won six, I can’t say I’m surprised, but I know how the game goes.”

Woodson rejoined the Raiders during the offseason after spending seven seasons with the Green Packers, so he’s played in this AFC West rivalry game.

However, Demps is new to the Chiefs and he expressed astonishment when informed of the Raiders’ streak.

“Oh, have they really?” Demps said. “That’s extra motivation, man, that’s not good. You don’t come in my backyard and beat me up. I’ll be sure to tell some of the guys that.”

It’s definitely rivalry week.

Tale of the tape

Offense

• The Chiefs rank 12th in rushing (120.6 yards per game) and 20th in passing (227.8 yards per game).
• The Raiders rank ninth in rushing (130.8 yards per game) and 27th in passing (199.4 yards per game).

Defense

• The Chiefs rank 21st against the run (115 yards allowed per game) and fourth against the pass (197.8 allowed per game).
• The Raiders rank 11th against the run (95.8 yards allowed per game) and 20th against the pass (268.2 yards allowed per game).

The last time

The Raiders swept the Chiefs in 2012, winning at Arrowhead Stadium 26-16 in Week Eight and a 15-0 shutout in Week 15 in Oakland.

The Chiefs and Raiders meet for the 109th time on Sunday, marking the most Kansas City has squared off against a single opponent.

The Chiefs hold a 55-51-2 overall record against the Raiders, including a 28-24-1 record at Arrowhead Stadium despite losing the last six at home.

Limiting Pryor a priority

If there’s a weakness on the Chiefs defense in the past two out of three games, it’s been an inability to contain a scrambling quarterback.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick gained 99 yards on four attempts in Week Three, while Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on six attempts in Week Five.

The Chiefs could have their hands full with Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 229 yards rushing.

“Obviously he can take it and run up field any moment he desires to run because he’s one of these elite speed guys,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “He’s a long strider and you don’t appreciate how fast he’s running until he goes by you. Then you realize that’s trouble.”

Pryor’s running ability has contributed to the Raiders boasting a 4.7 yards per rush attempt, which is tops in the AFC.

“They’ve always been a team that can run the ball,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “They pride themselves on running the ball. It won’t be anything different when they come here. They’re going to try to establish the run and hit us with a couple of boots here and there with Pryor getting on the move. They’re going to run the ball.”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs also know Pryor has an arm. He’s completed 71-of-104 passes (68.3 completion percentage) for 845 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions

Don’t expect cornerback Sean Smith to relax on coverage.

“The guy can definitely cross fields in the backfield and make a play down field,” Smith said. “You just have to go out there and cover your guy for however long it takes. I think the biggest challenge will be for the guys up front like Tamba (Hali) and Justin Houston who have to go out there and try to keep him contained and keep the guy in the pocket because if he steps outside he’s dangerous with his arms and legs.”

“Chill bumps”

The Seattle Seahawks’ fans recorded a decibel level of 136.6 on Sept. 13 to claim the title of “loudest crowd at a sports stadium,” according to the Guinness World Records.

And that didn’t set well with some die-hard Chiefs fans, who believe the title belongs in Kansas City.

“Terrorhead at Arrowhead” was born.

The group goes after a new record on Sunday against the Raiders and a representative from Guinness World Records will be on hand, ArrowheadPride.com reports.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen is aware what the Chiefs fans are attempting and he’s taken steps this week to help his team prepare for the noise.

“We’re going to work on crowd noise a lot during practice, and we’ll be ready for crowd noise,” Allen said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “Obviously, that’s a great environment for football and really what we have to do is focus in and not let the crowd be a distraction and be able to execute our assignments and do our job in a hostile environment.”

In the meantime, anyone doubting the Chiefs crowd can approach the record should take heed of rookie linebacker Nico Johnson’s thoughts on Arrowhead Stadium.

Considering he played at SEC powerhouse Alabama, Johnson is no stranger to playing in front of large crowds.

“The last home game against the Giants, there was one point in the game it got real loud and I turned to one of our coaches and said, ‘Yep, it’s loud,’ because it gave me chill bumps,” Johnson said. “If I get chill bumps, it’s loud. Being fresh out of college, it’s fun.”

Quotable

Chiefs coach Andy Reid on swirling rumors surrounding Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez:

“That’s not even – he’s on another team,” Reid emphatically said during Wednesday’s media session. “I don’t even know where that came from, really. It’s got to end now because you can’t – there’s nothing there.”

Reid on the Raiders coming to town:

“The black and silver, if anybody is wearing it, be careful,” Reid said.

Quarterback Alex Smith responding to a reporter’s question about being a game manager:

“At this point they can call me whatever they want,” Smith said. “I’m just trying to get wins.”

Prediction

When was the last time Chiefs fans felt confident about securing victory?

The dreadful feeling of “figures that happened” has been replaced with sky-high expectations.

Instead of cringing whenever the Chiefs defense trots on the field, fans likely anticipate a game-changing sack or turnover.

When a game is on the line in the fourth quarter, fans know the Chiefs offense can finish, evidenced by the Chiefs leading the NFL with eight clock-killing drives.

This Chiefs team is that good.

Still, history suggests the Raiders won’t roll over for the Chiefs.

Raiders running back Darren McFadden (hamstring, questionable) has rushed for two straight 100-yard games against the Chiefs and quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s ability to extend a play with his legs is a concern.

Trouble?

Perhaps, but the Chiefs will take care of business and accomplish two things: End a six-game slide to the Raiders at home and continue their own streak to move to 6-0.

Outcome: Chiefs 27, Raiders 10

——-

Friday’s official NFL Injury Report, as released by the league:

Oakland Raiders

Out: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), T Menelik Watson (calf), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee)
Questionable: RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), T Tony Pashos (groin)
Probable: RB Marcel Reece (knee)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), T Menelik Watson (calf), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee)
Thursday: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), T Menelik Watson (calf), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee)
Friday: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring), T Menelik Watson (calf), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee)

Limited participation

Wednesday: RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), T Tony Pashos (groin), RB Marcel Reece (knee)
Thursday: RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), T Tony Pashos (groin), RB Marcel Reece (knee)
Friday: RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), T Tony Pashos (groin), RB Marcel Reece (knee)

Kansas City Chiefs

Out: TE Travis Kelce (knee)
Questionable: CB Brandon Flowers (knee), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Probable: G Jeff Allen (groin), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), RB Jamaal Charles (toes), P Dustin Colquitt (right knee), T Eric Fisher (concussion), LB Justin Houston (concussion), TE Sean McGrath (knee), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Geoff Schwartz (tricep), RB Anthony Sherman (knee)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: RB Jamaal Charles (toes), TE Anthony Fasano (ankle, knee), LB Justin Houston (concussion), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Thursday: TE Anthony Fasano (ankle, knee), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)
Friday: TE Anthony Fasano (ankle, knee)

Limited participation

Wednesday: WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), P Dustin Colquitt (right knee)
Thursday: WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), RB Jamaal Charles (toes), P Dustin Colquitt (right knee), LB Justin Houston (concussion)
Friday: CB Brandon Flowers (knee), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle)

Full participation

Wednesday: G Jeff Allen (groin), T Eric Fisher (concussion), TE Sean McGrath (knee), T Geoff Schwartz (tricep), RB Anthony Sherman (knee)
Thursday: G Jeff Allen (groin), T Eric Fisher (concussion), TE Sean McGrath (knee), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Geoff Schwartz (tricep), RB Anthony Sherman (knee)
Friday: G Jeff Allen (groin), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), RB Jamaal Charles (toes), P Dustin Colquitt (right knee), T Eric Fisher (concussion), LB Justin Houston (concussion), TE Sean McGrath (knee), LB Dezman Moses (toe), T Geoff Schwartz (tricep), RB Anthony Sherman (knee)

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