Five weeks into the National Football League season, the Oakland Raiders find themselves with only one loss. Off to the best start in a decade, head coach Jack Del Rio and his staff has a chance to own a game lead in the AFC West.
The Denver Broncos lost to the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, giving the Raiders sole possession of the AFC West.
The Sunday 1:00 P.M. start time will be a stepping-stone for the Raiders, battling against another divisional rival. The Kansas City Chiefs come to the Coliseum with a record of 2-2, attempting to salvage a season with high expectations.
For the Raiders, the team has found themselves in constant close contests. The four victories this season have all come within three points, with each game coming down to the wire.
Quarterback Derek Carr is emerging into a star, although his team has been battling injuries. With injuries to tight end Lee Smith and all across the offensive line, the team has shuffled their blocking schemes.
Entering Week 5, Carr had only been sacked twice all season. However, Carr was hit with three sacks against the Chargers. With Menelik Watson and Vadal Alexander both out for Week 6, Del Rio if shuffling the line once again.
Carr will also be without his feature back, as Latavius Murray has been ruled out due to his nagging turf toe. After not practicing all week, the Raiders opted not to rush him in. Rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard will see a bulk of the carries, against a strong front seven of the Chiefs.
Entering the contest, the Raiders continue to rank amongst the elite in terms of offense. For the 2016 season, the Raiders are averaging 391.6 offensive yards per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL.
To the contrary, the Chiefs rank 21st in the league, with just 338.5 yards per game.
While the Raiders continue to remain atop the offensive rankings, they remain amongst the bottom in terms of defense. Del Rio’s defensive unit ranks dead last in yards per game allowed, with an average of 452.6.
The Chiefs rank 22nd in the NFL, with 370 yards allowed per game.
While the Raiders defense has given up a lot of yardage, they are salvaging opportunities by forcing mistakes. The Raiders are tied with the Chiefs for third in the NFL with 10 takeaways this season.
Although both defenses are forcing turnovers, the difference lies with how many giveaways they are allowing. The Raiders have only given up three turnovers, while the Chiefs have lost the ball eight times.
The Chiefs have had success against the Raiders during the Andy Reid era. The team is 5-1 in contests against the black and silver.
Reid’s team is coming off a much-needed bye week. During their Oct. 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, quarterback Alex Smith was hit with four sacks.
The Raiders have collected only seven sacks on the season, but could see an explosion on Sunday.
Chiefs’ top cornerback Marcus Peters will have quite the task on Sunday, covering potentially both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
The second straight home game for the Raiders will have both divisional and playoff implications. A win here can set them apart from the mid-tier teams, while a loss will be a step back going into their Week 7 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.