Next week the Raiders face a Chiefs defense that is currently ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing an average of 335 yards per game. That's a pretty stout defense and that ranking doesn't even tell the whole story of how dominant the Chiefs defense has been of late.
Over the past five games, the Chiefs have allowed an average of 20 points per game. That would be good for second in the NFL behind only the Denver Broncos. The 20 points per game the Chiefs have allowed this season is currently 7th in the league. But over the past few weeks that average has dropped to 12.2 points per game which is a good five points fewer than the current fewest allowed points per game of 17.5 by the Bengals.
During those five games, the Chiefs haven't lost and have improved to 6-5 this season after beginning the season 1-5.
How are they doing it? Well, as you might expect, it's pass rush. They are sitting at 30 sacks this season which is tied for the fifth most in the league. And 17 of those sacks have come over the past five games, including 5.5 of Tamba Hali's 6.5 sacks on the season - good for second on the team.
"I think it starts with their talent in their front. They've got five former first round picks that start on defense. They've invested in their front, and those guys are good. (Justin) Houston and (Tamba) Hali and (Dontari) Poe. They've got good people. It's great to see Eric Berry back with his ordeal, what he went through, for him to work his way back and be healthy and playing well, thank God for that. They've got a talented group that plays hard. It's a big challenge."
The best pass rusher the Chiefs have is All Pro Justin Houston who leads the team with 7.5 sacks this season. He is currently day-to-day after suffering a hyper extended knee last Sunday. But he has plenty of help. Every starting defensive lineman and rush linebacker has at least one sack this season. Six have at least 2.0 sacks.
"It's the five guys in there making plays," Derek Carr said of the Chiefs defensive front. "You turn the film on and you're like ‘wow, these guys are really good' and somehow you look at the score and maybe not what they wanted, but I try not to look at those things. I just see their scheme, who they have out there, tendencies all those kinds of things, match-ups, all that kind of stuff, because if you get caught up in that stuff, you can start letting your mind wander where it shouldn't."
Carr has gotten some pretty good protection this season, having been sacked just 12 times. The Raiders offensive line has faced the fourth and fifth ranked sacking Titans and Lions over the past two weeks and allowed just one sack in each game.
Had the Chiefs been sacking quarterbacks at the same clip all season long as they have the past five weeks, they would lead the NFL in sacks (37). So, for a better comparison to how the Raiders might perform Sunday, you might look at their week 5 game against the Broncos, who currently lead the league in sacks. The Raiders allowed four sacks in that game.