Now at 2-3, a mark that may be a surprise to some, the Raiders have continued to show that if nothing else, they are headed in the right direction as a franchise.
To maintain their current momentum and beat what has been an impressive Chiefs team thus far, the Raiders will need a complete effort on both sides of the ball.
Pulling off the upset, and extending their Arrowhead Stadium win streak to seven games in the process, will require a few very important parts of the game to work in their favor.
Here are five bold predictions for the Oakland Raiders’ week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Normally, this would be a matchup heavily weighted in the Chiefs’ favor as a result, but Oakland's run defense has already shown to improve significantly over seasons past.
Through five games in 2013, the Raiders defense ranks 11th against the run, allowing opponents an average of 95.8 yards per game.
Even more impressive has been the unit’s 3.7 yards-per-rushing-attempt mark, which is currently tied for seventh in the NFL.
If the Raiders can continue this trend of solid run defense, forcing the Chiefs to be one-dimensional and rely on the passing game, their chances of winning increase substantially.
The Raiders defense got off to a slow start in the turnover department this season, but it was extremely impressive in Sunday’s win over the Chargers. In which, it tallied three interceptions and a fumble recovery, with another fumble recovery coming on special teams.
The Chiefs and quarterback Alex Smith have done well to take care of the football for the most part but have had some turnover problems in recent weeks.
If the Raiders can shut down the running game, as they will no doubt look to do, they could be in position to force several turnovers by way of interceptions.
As is the case with any game, winning the turnover battle is key. The offense would have to hold up its end of the bargain, but three turnovers would put the Raiders in prime position to continue their win streak at Arrowhead Stadium.
With running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings returning to the practice field on Wednesday, the possibility exists that both could indeed be ready for Sunday’s game.
If so, the Raiders should rely heavily upon the running game against the Chiefs, as that is where their offense is most likely to have success.
Of course, with Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe playing at the level he is, the Raiders should focus on getting their ball-carriers in space off-tackle and utilizing the read-option attack with Terrelle Pryor.
Should the Raiders have success doing so, especially somewhere near a total of 150 yards, they should start to wear down the Chiefs defense and leave them susceptible to big plays in the passing game as well.
Considering the dominance of the Chiefs pass rush and secondary thus far, having to rely exclusively on the passing game is not something the Raiders want to have to do from the start of this game.
Overall, a big day like this in the ground game would go a long way toward the Raiders winning on Sunday.
The Raiders’ kick return unit has yet to come up with a big play so far in the 2013 season, but if any week were more ideal than another, the difficult matchup the Chiefs defense presents would make this the one.
Jacoby Ford has always had the ability to score from anywhere on the field, be it as a kick returner, a pass-catcher or a ball-carrier.
Of course, with the new kickoff rules, kick returns aren’t as plentiful as they once were, but the chance for a big play is always there when he gets the opportunity.
In a game likely to be fairly low scoring, a special teams score would be a huge advantage for the Raiders, and it could be the breakout play Ford needs to get going this season.
Considering how impressive both the Raiders’ and Chiefs’ defensive units have been, as well as the inconsistency that has come on the offensive side of the ball, this is likely to be a low-scoring game.
Although the Chiefs are 5-0, and look to be among the league’s top teams, the Raiders still match up well.
The Raiders’ newfound ability to stop the run on defense should force the Chiefs to do something their offense is not built to do—rely more on the passing attack.
If the Raiders can take advantage of which, and force what will be some key turnovers, they should have a good opportunity to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the 2013 season, meanwhile evening their own record at 3-3.