The summer walk-through of the Kansas City Chiefs schedule for the 2012 NFL season reaches October 28 and a Week 8 home game with the Oakland Raiders. Links to the previous seven weeks are below.
Oakland’s visit to Kansas City marks the first game against the Raiders and only the second AFC West game of the season for the Chiefs. One thing I’m interested to see is if Oakland can beef up its run defense. They ranked 27th in the NFL last season against the rush, and it just seems that the talent in this 4-3 scheme, anchored by middle linebacker Rolando McClain, should be producing better results. With a defensive-minded coach in Dennis Allen, over from the Denver Broncos, perhaps the performance of the Raiders’ rush defense will start matching its potential. In a game where Kansas City will—as they always do—want to control the game between the tackles, how well Allen develops this area of the Raiders will go a long way in determining if his team can win on the road.
This will also be a test game from Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassell and the receiver trio of Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. The Raiders are susceptible at the corners and even if the run game doesn’t work well, it’s possible Cassell could open things up if his receivers can get some separation. The Raider linebackers are better suited to defend the run and the pass, so the possibility for open areas to throw exist both in man coverage and short over the middle. One factor to consider with both teams’ passing games is that while the Midwest is being beaten down with heat right now, this game will take place at a time when the possibility of a cold, windy day is at least on the radar screen.
Kansas City will come into the game rested after the Week 7 bye, although with the Raiders only being sandwiched in between home games against Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, the scheduling advantage isn’t as dramatic as a Chiefs’ fan might hope. The first installment of the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry circa 2012 marks the beginning of the decisive point of the Kansas City season.
Follow me on Twitter @DanFlaherty