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Five Good Questions with Arrowhead Pride: Raiders facing very different Chiefs team than last meeting

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I spoke with Joel Thorman of SB Nation’s Chiefs site Arrowhead Pride to get the current state of the Raiders rival.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

1. How is this Chiefs team different than when they faced the Raiders in week 7?

Um, completely different. You see back then the Chiefs were good. Now the Chiefs are bad. That's the difference. The Raiders loss was just the Chiefs second loss of the season. They were 5-2 after that game. I didn't think it was the end of the world. I thought it was the Raiders playing for their Super Bowl and the Chiefs lost. So what.

Now? It was a clear sign of how up and down this defense would become (looking at Amari Cooper's stat sheet is too funny with that Chiefs game in there). The Chiefs gave up 38 points to the Jets last week but combined to give up 25 points in the two games before that. The pass rush has completely disappeared. Marcus Peters, their best defensive player, won't be playing. Derrick Johnson is now a part-time player.

Offensively, the Chiefs haven't run the ball well in weeks. When they do (like last week), Kareem Hunt doesn't get enough touches. Alex Smith will give you a 177 yard, 1 TD, 1 INT day or he'll give you 375 yards and 4 TDs. The thing with this Chiefs team is that there is no in between. They are either very good or very bad. The good thing is that Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are still very good so you can count on them. Other than that, I'm not sure who you can count on right now.

2. Alex Smith was struggling for several weeks and then somehow put up 366 yards on 19 completions with 4 touchdowns. How?

When his back is really against the wall it seems like Alex Smith responds. In the Jets game last week he stretched the field. That was the difference maker. Whether that was by scheme or by luck or Smith feeling the pressure, they went deep and it paid off as Tyreek Hill finished with 185 yards and both he and Kelce had two touchdown catches. Hill is so fast the Chiefs just have to take those shots every time they can and that was a game where they did. I can't remember the last big rushing game the Chiefs had so it's not the running game. I think it's just a matter of the Chiefs committing to taking (smart) risks with big plays.

3. What happened to the Chiefs' defense?

Everyone has a different culprit. For me, I'll point to the pass rush. Dee Ford has been out. Tamba Hali was out half the season. Frank Zombo can stop the run but is not a top pass rusher. They're averaging just a sack a game during this losing streak. That's the worst in the league during that stretch. Justin Houston isn't a bad player, he just isn't making those game changing plays he did before. Father time is catching up with Derrick Johnson who is now a part-time player. Half of the Chiefs secondary (not the Marcus Peters half) is torched for 100-plus yards each week by some receiver or tight end. There are just so many loose holes that some are wondering if the problems lie with the defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton.

4. What major personnel changes do you expect with the Chiefs as a result of their collapse?

It seems likely the Chiefs go to Patrick Mahomes over Alex Smith after this season. The Chiefs could also think about some changes on defense. Bob Sutton has been here for five years as the coordinator and they will have to take a strong look at the defense this season because it just feels like they got old over night. What happened?

5. Who do you expect to win this one and what's the score?

I'm taking the Raiders. Shocking, right? The Chiefs have lost six of their last seven and in every game where I say they should win, they don't. So, I'm picking a Raiders team who can move the ball and pressure Alex Smith to beat the Chiefs on Sunday, 20-16.

I will add a link to my answers to his questions when posted.