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Nick Jacobs' keys to victory: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

Nick Jacobs' keys to victory: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Posted at 3:14 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 13:54:42-05

KANSAS CITY. Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs begin the final push before the playoffs with a trip to Oakland.

The Raiders are experiencing some self-inflicted growing pains after a few unique roster decisions by coach Jon Gruden, who attempts to run a West Coast offense with shades of the Cincinnati Bengals’ zone coverage defense.

Here are several keys ways the Chiefs (9-2) can crush the Raiders (2-9) for their tenth victory of the season:

1. Eliminate TE Jared Cook, RB Jalen Richard 

Tight end Jared Cook and running back Jalen Richard are the two difference-makers for the Raiders’ offense.

Cook is Oakland’s best matchup against safeties and linebackers, while Richard is dangerous out of the backfield — needing only a couple steps to reach top speed. Both players can keep the Raiders in a game. 

Wide receiver Martavius Bryant and running back Doug Martin have the athletic ability to be difference-makers but lack quarterback Derek Carr’s trust and aren’t featured enough. 

2. Show pressure, collapse pocket on Carr 

Carr does not like being hit. He wants the ball out quick and has limited interest in surveying the field for the best option.

When he sees pressure, Carr winds up the clock in his head to the speed of light. He will rush throws, force passes into windows that aren’t there, and essentially give up on the play. 

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will have to blitz early to speed up Carr, but the Chiefs simply can show it later on in the game and drop back into zones. It still will have an effect.

Sutton’s defense also would benefit from collapsing the pocket on Carr. If he doesn’t feel the threat of pressure, he will take the time to stand on his spot until the pocket collapses then he will take off running and drop his eyes to escape. 

The Chiefs’ defense can force multiple sacks and turnovers with this strategy. 

3. Keep backside contain

Both in the run and pass games, Gruden likes to misdirect the defense and attempt to exploit the pursuit with backside drag routes, reverses, screens and cutbacks.

If these tactics fall flat, Oakland’s offense is done for the day. 

4. Misdirect Oakland’s defense

By contrast, the Raiders struggle with discipline on the backside in both the run and pass.

In particular, Paul Guenther’s defense struggles with ghost motions, reverses, delays, delayed screens on the backside, and bootlegs.

The defense is aggressive but lacks the speed and discipline to be effective.

5. Run at angles to edges

The Chiefs can utilize the run game by attacking at an angle to the tackles.

The Raiders struggle to set the edge and force the run back inside.

Combined with the lack of backside discipline, that leads to some massive cutback lames. 

6. Stretch Oakland’s defense 

The Raiders lack speed in the secondary and can be overwhelmed with route combinations.

With proper spacing, it’s possible to create voids all over the football field.

When Oakland gets desperate, the defense resorts to bringing blitzes if the game is at a tipping point. If the game reaches that point, it opens up slants, seams and vertical routes for explosive plays. 

7. Special opportunities

Gruden likely will want to try an onside kick or a fake punt early in the game to keep momentum. The Raiders have done it before and will be desperate to keep the score within striking distance.

Kansas City must be ready.

Oakland also struggles to stay in its lanes for containment on kickoffs and punts.

If Tremon Smith and Tyreek Hill receive directional kicks or punts, they need to run diagonally the opposite direction and should be able to outrun poor coverage angles for big returns — if not touchdowns. 

The Raiders have a three-year rebuilding project on their hands. The Chiefs could turn this into the Browns game offensively and the Cardinals game defensively if they attack these areas.

Nick Jacobs can be found on Twitter: @Jacobs71 and can also be heard on the 4th and 1 podcast brought to you by 41 Action News. 4th and 1 is available on iTunes, Google Play  and TuneIn. You can check out all the 41 Action News podcasts here.


The 4th and 1 Chiefs podcast is published once a week during the off-season.