Greetings, Raider fans! It is I, RaiderDamus, your oracle, your font of wit and wisdom, your paragon of virtue, and the World's Freshest Man. This week, as always, I bring you another message from the Great Beyond regarding the Raiders' game in Kansas City on Sunday.
Now, the last two weeks the Great Beyond has been completely and totally wrong, as the Raiders could not hold on against Washington and they utterly dominated San Diego despite a close final score. That game was 27-17 when it ought to have been 34-3. The Raiders were extremely good that night and, in fact, are a good team. The three teams to whom they have lost made the playoffs last year and one of them, Denver, is the mightiest offensive juggernaut we have seen since the 2011 Patriots. The Raiders held them to their lowest offensive output this season, and that's saying a lot because te Broncos didn't have much trouble moving the football against Oakland. How does Denver not put up 60 on a weekly basis? Probably just bad luck.
Anyway, things are looking up for the Raiders. They have a promising young quarterback who's going to be the talk of the league this year, they have a legitimate defense led by NFL Defensive MVP candidate Charles Woodson and a defensive line which has gobbled up the run this year and has had little trouble getting to the opposing quarterback, and playmaking linebackers. The cornerback play has been hit or miss, but D.J. Hayden is playing well and could solidify that unit.
Still, they go on the road to play the Chiefs this week. The Chiefs are 5-0; an unimpressive 5-0 to say the least but 5-0 nonetheless. They have beat up on the Jaguars, Giants, Titans, Eagles and Cowboys, teams with a combined record of 7-17. The Raiders' opponents, conversely, have a combined record of 12-12.
To really examine the Chiefs, we need to do what you always do when you want to analyze a team- look at their head coach and quarterback. You can usually predict how a team will do by looking at those two people. Andy Reid and Alex Smith have had success in this league, but never a ton of it, and both have been members of Super Bowl losing teams, Smith as a backup for the 49ers last year, Reid as the head coach of the Eagles when they faced what may have been the best overall Patriots squad to win a Super Bowl, so bad luck for him. They're both decidedly in the middle of the pack as far as how you would rank them at their respective positions. Of course, John Fox wasn't exactly a world-beater as a coach until Peyton Manning came along and made him look like the 1985 Bears made Mike Ditka look.
Reid was run out of town in Philadelphia last year because Jim Johnson died four years ago, and at the time of his firing Reid was the longest-tenured head coach in major American sport. Reid had led the snake-bitten Eagles franchise to their best run of success since Dick Vermeil's time with the team, when Vermeil's greatest accomplishment was to luck his way into the Super Bowl and get demolished by the Raiders. Of course, even a coach with as much success as Reid can only do so much without a defense, as current Eagles coach and my personal hero Chip Kelly is currently discovering. The Eagles under Jim Johnson had a dominant defense; after his death, the defense had all the containment of a sewer grate and couldn't wrap up a sandwich with a ream of paper and a roll of duct tape. They were about as dominant as Paul Shaffer and as innovative as Marty Schottenheimer.
This year, conversely, the Chiefs have an excellent defense. They have solid linemen, rangy linebackers, and one of if not the best secondary in the league, led by Eric Berry whose father played running back at Tennessee and whose mother was a grizzly bear. Don't look into his eyes what are you doing he perceives that as a challenge, may God have mercy on your soul. They haven't really been tested by a good offense which wasn't led by Tony Romo, and it remains to be seen which Raider offense shows up this week. We won't truly get a feel for their actual skill level until they face Denver, a game that can't come soon enough for me so we don't have two undefeated teams in the same division. That's just silly.
The big question for K.C. is, will Jamaal Charles play and be his normal explosive self? Most of the offense flows through Charles, much like the Eagles offense of yore ran through Brian Westbrook and runs through LeSean McCoy today. If he can't go, the Chiefs are in a world of hurt, because they don't have an adequate replacement, what with Dexter McCluster being four feet tall in KISS moon boots. However, Charles will most likely be fine to go, and Alex Smith will have his favorite binky to throw to. Dwayne Bowe, as usual, will wonder why he signed a new contract to play for Andy Reid for the next five years. That was probably a poor choice.
I don't really hate the Chiefs the way I hate Denver or San Diego. Denver is obnoxious and smug, while San Diego has Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates and, just kill it with fire. In my lifetime, KC has been mostly harmless except that time they had Joe Montana play for them, which just confused and angered the dickens out of 7 year old Damus. The Chiefs have sucked for so long, and haven't been relevant since the 70's, that I just can't feel the hate in my gut that I feel whenever I see John Elway's or LaDainian Tomlinson's stupid faces on my TV. I have fond memories of the Nigerian Nightmare, Christian Okoye, bulldozing fools in my Tecmo Bowl games.
I really do see this being a defensive struggle, because neither team is truly explosive on offense and both defenses have been so good thus far. I think both the Chiefs and Raiders are legit. I just think the Chiefs are a little bit more so, and I think Pryor will make one more mistake than Alex Smith, who won't do much to win the game but will do nothing whatsoever to lose it.
Chiefs win, 17-16.