Sunday, December 15, 2013
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Raiders 16
By Adam Teicher
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders played one another two months ago at Arrowhead Stadium in a game won by the Chiefs 24-7. But that game won't be instructive when it comes to determining how Sunday's meeting between the teams will come down.
The Raiders are a far different team, particularly on offense. The last time, their quarterback was Terrelle Pryor. Today, it's undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. Their running back was Darren McFadden. Today, it's likely to be Rashad Jennings or Marcel Reese. One of their best receivers of late, Andre Holmes, barely played the last time against the Chiefs. Oakland used a patchwork offensive line against the Chiefs but should have all their linemen available today.
Though their players are mostly the same, the Chiefs are a different team, too. Their offense, which had one of its least productive games the last time against Oakland, has scored at least 30 points in two of the past three games. Meanwhile, the invincible aura that once surrounded their defense was ripped away by a streak of four games allowing more than 425 yards that ended only with last week's win over the feeble Washington Redskins.
The Chiefs sacked Pryor nine times in the last game. They won't get to McGloin like that. He has been sacked just five times compared to 29 for Pryor even though McGloin has attempted well more than half of the passes that Pryor has.
That doesn't mean the Chiefs can't give McGloin problems. They got some of their defensive swagger back last week with six sacks against Washington and though he's playing well for an undrafted rookie, the only quarterbacks to beat the Chiefs this season are Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. McGloin isn't in their category.
The Raiders, meanwhile, allowed more than 30 points in each of their last two games. These Chiefs should be able to score against Oakland, too. The Raiders largely controlled the line of scrimmage when the Chiefs had the ball the last time. They sacked Alex Smith three times.
That, too, is unlikely to happen today. The Chiefs' offensive line is playing much better than it was two months ago.
Expect a higher scoring game, for both sides. The last game was 7-7 until late in the third quarter, when Pryor began committing turnovers that led to 17 Chiefs points.
What won't change is the result. Prediction: Chiefs 27, Raiders 16.