The Kansas City Chiefs suffered their first loss in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, raising a lot of questions about how good this team really is. Head coach Andy Reid’s offense seemed stymied at every turn. The Chiefs defense gave up a lot of conversions that kept the offense from seeing the field. With a short week to prepare, the Chiefs will face the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. It’s time to see which pressure points each team has that may prove their fatal weakness.
For the umpteenth week in a row, Kansas City’s biggest weakness on offense is their line. With an interior line consisting solely of backups, the Chiefs have consistently overperformed. The Steelers exposed Kansas City’s offense Sunday night, however, pressuring quarterback Alex Smith at every turn. So far, the gameplan against the Chiefs will involve overpowering their interior offensive line.
The Chiefs simply aren’t getting to the quarterback fast enough. There are several culprits for this–dropping Justin Houston into coverage instead of rushing him, not blitzing enough, missing Dee Ford on the outside–but regardless Kansas City needs to step it up. Chiefs corners are not going to be able to cover all night, and as Pittsburgh showed a quarterback with time in the pocket will make defensive coordinator Bob Sutton pay.
The loss of Chris Conley against the Houston Texans in Week 5 has hurt the Chiefs on 3rd down. Before their last game, Alex Smith was the best quarterback in the league when pressured. Without Conley’s clutch performances on crucial downs, Smith was hung out to dry. Hopefully D, marcus Robinson can play well enough to replace Conley.
Having lost their star quarterback Derek Carr in Week 5 of the season to injury, the Raiders have looked adrift. Their last four games have been losses, and even with Carr supposedly fully healed from a spine injury the position is a weakness. If Kansas City can generate some pressure from any of their positions, the Raiders will be in a tough spot.
Even with the addition of veteran star Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders are not getting it done on the ground the way that a playoff contender should. None of the Oakland running backs have provided consistent production thus far in the season. If head coach Jack Del Rio wants to stabilize his team, he needs to find something that works on the ground.
While the Raiders are slightly better than the Chiefs in terms of both rushing and passing yards allowed on defense, they have some issues. They have not registered an interception on the season, which is going to hurt a team no matter how well they perform otherwise. Through 6 games they have only 11 sacks, which would be mediocre if they had more takeaways. As it is, they just aren’t making big plays on defense which allows offenses to keep the ball moving incrementally.