The AFC West is the only division in the NFL without a team with a winning record, and Sunday's game between the Raiders and Chiefs will feature a battle between the two teams at the bottom of that division. While the Raiders own the better record of the two following a Week 7 win over the Jaguars, they squeaked their way by with an overtime win to avoid a third straight loss.
The Chiefs have lost three straight, though, with most of their five losses coming in blowout fashion. However, after a Week 7 bye, the Chiefs have a chance to get their season back on track against the Raiders and put themselves right back in the mix of a weak division.
Meet the Chiefs
While Matt Cassel is listed as probable for Sunday's game against the Raiders with a concussion, Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel has already decided that it will be Brady Quinn making his second start of the season for Kansas City. In 2012, Quinn has completed 24 of 40 passes for 212 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The game will likely be put in the hands of Jamaal Charles, as the Chiefs rank as the AFC's best running team, averaging 164 yards per game on the ground.
Defensively, the Chiefs will hope that Brandon Flowers can have the same type of impact that he did against the Raiders on Oct. 23, 2011. Flowers recorded two interceptions against the Raiders, including a 58-yard interception returned for a touchdown in a 28-0 win over the Raiders. Opposite him on Sunday will be former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt, who joined the Chiefs in the offseason after seven seasons with Oakland.
Meet the Raiders
While Carson Palmer was part of the interception-filled game against the Chiefs in 2011, he has generally been superb against the AFC West since joining the division. In six starts against the division, Palmer has averaged 297.3 yards per game with nine touchdowns and a 91.2 quarterback rating. Behind him will be Darren McFadden, who has averaged six yards per carry in his two career games against the Chiefs.
On defense, the Raiders will look to apply consistent pressure against the Chiefs with Lamarr Houston, who tallied eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Week 7. Also on the defensive line is Tommy Kelly, who has six career sacks against the Chiefs, while safety Michael Huff has four interceptions in his career against Kansas City.
Local Takes: Chiefs
Matt Verderame from Arrowhead Pride says this about the rivalry between the Chiefs and Raiders:
It's always more fun when both a team and its rivals are good. What's better than beating a team like the Raiders when all the chips have been pushed to the middle of the table for both sides? Nothing.
Local Takes: Raiders
Marcus Allen Krause of Silver and Black Pride says that the Raiders need to embrace an up-tempo style of offense:
If the Raiders can get to the line quickly it will give more control to Carson Palmer to make adjustments. Carson has shown his talent at reading the defenses while deploying the no-huddle and it is a talent that must be utilized more. Getting into plays early keeps the defense from subbing players in and out and allows Palmer more opportunities to call audibles.
Follow the Fun
Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Arrowhead Pride, Silver and Black Pride, for more analysis and highlights from the game.
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Silver and Black Pride editor, @LeviDamien
Chiefs beat writer, @AdamTeicher
Tamba Hali said Raiders are a dirty team: "It’s a tradition . . . They come in, they cheapshot, they hit you. I'm not saying no names.’’— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) October 24, 2012
Raiders beat writer, @JerryMcD
Raiders have made enough mistakes for three games. Look to the heavens if they pull this out in OT . . .— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) October 21, 2012
This game is happening because the league requires all of its teams to play 16 games, no matter how futile it may be. Here's a shocking statistic: The Raiders have won six straight games at Arrowhead Stadium, really. Kansas City's got Brady Quinn starting, Dwayne Bowe wants out, and everyone else is wondering when Clark Hunt is going to start making changes.
The pick: 23-20, Raiders
The Chiefs are the favorites by just one point in some books, but game is listed as even by most, according to Oddsshark.
The Raiders will go back home in Week 9 where they'll host the Buccaneers who are coming off a big win on Thursday night over the Vikings. The Chiefs will continue AFC West play with a trip to San Diego to take on the Chargers.