As we all know, the Oakland Raiders are struggling mightily on offense while the defense works part time. So Thursday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs doesn’t look so good. But there is actually a way for the last place Raiders to upset the AFC leading Chiefs.
Raider Nation has complained about defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. not being a mastermind. And we are finding out new offensive coordinator Todd Downing isn’t such a genius himself. So we can forget about Chiefs head coach Andy Reid getting outcoached in this game.
The Raiders are going to have to outmuscle them and that is something they can do. Running the ball and stopping the run are the ways to outmuscle a team. And General manager Reggie McKenzie just took care of the latter part by acquiring linebacker NaVorro Bowman. So of course, the Raiders need to play him right away and it looks like that’s what they’re going to do.
“NaVorro’s a smart man, now. He’s really sharp, he loves ball,” said Norton. “He’s been around a lot of good ball, a lot of good ball players and I think he’s going to step in. He’s a pro and he understands that he’s not going to get out on the field unless he’s ready to play. So, he’s really the type of guy that wants to play, wants to play at a high level and has been playing at a high level for a long time. So, he’s doing a lot of work when people aren’t watching.”
The Raiders are solid everywhere else on the defensive front-seven. So Bowman, who still has it, particularly against the run, could very well slow down Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.
Running the ball is something the Raiders should have been doing but for some reason, they haven’t. Along with Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch is one of the best RBs of his generation. You had to have seen what Peterson did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. Lynch could have had the same kind of game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Peterson had 126 yards on 26 carries while Lynch had 63 yards on 13 carries. Lynch had half the yards Peterson had because he had half the carries. As Levi Damien pointed out in naming Downing a Buster this week, Lynch averaged 6.1 yards per carry in the first half and yet only got the ball five times in the second half.
There is no excuse for that.
All Downing had to say for his lack of using Lynch was, “Oh yeah, I have friends that have him on their fantasy team that are mad at me for that. That’s part of the business.”
The fantasy football aspect of this is far from the only reason what so many people are mad at him. Someone needs to tell Downing that the Raiders winning actual games is the reason Lynch should be running the ball more.
Getting away from what the offense did well last year and trying to get cute is killing this team. The Raiders beat the Denver Broncos last year by running the same running play 10 times in a row. That’s part of the identity of the Raiders.
Downing needs to swallow his pride and get back to what works for this team. That means using their physical advantage and run the ball more.
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Chiefs by giving the ball to Le’Veon Bell 32 times and getting 179 yards out of him. They also held rookie super star Kareem Hunt to 21 yards on nine carries. That’s a lot of 3rd-and-shorts for the Steelers and 3rd-and-longs for the Chiefs. That’s the recipe to beating the Chiefs.
Add to that the fact that, some of their starting defensive interior will be out. That makes the Raiders’ Physical advantage that much greater so they need to use it.