Matt Cassel Is the Key to the Kansas City Chiefs Taking on The Oakland Raiders
The Chiefs can run the ball. The Raiders can run as well. The Chiefs have been effective at stopping the run, the Raiders not quite as well.
Jamal Charles, Darren McFadden, Thomas Jones and to a lesser degree, Michael Bush. That's been pretty much the story in every article you read.
Also, inexplicably, who will be guiding the Raiders behind center. That question has been answered and, to me, should never have been asked. Jason Campbell has thrown for over 500 yards, with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games.
Prior to that, he was inconsistent, much like the team as a whole.
The glaring "weakness" for the Chiefs, or perceived weakness, is Matt Cassel and the overall passing game.
I'm a well known Matt Cassel supporter, and will be until he proves he simply cannot be a top NFL quarterback. He already has been, and is growing with this team every week.
This is the week it pays off.
Apparently someone told Dwayne Bowe his job is to catch the ball. He's been running much better routes, catching the ball, and getting into the end zone.
In addition to Bowe, I think Todd Haley has been playing his "head games" with wide receiver Chris Chambers. This is the week he comes to play. He has been one of the missing pieces for Cassel. In last years disaster, Chambers, in only nine games had over 600 yards receiving for almost 17 yards per catch.
Chambers has plenty of experience playing in Oakland so he will not be intimidated. Dwayne Bowe has been there enough times as well.
We all know how valuable Tony Moeaki has become too. Let's not forget Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones in the passing game too. The only drawback is Dexter McCluster being out again. He poses a great deal of match up problems for defenses.
A significant part of my theory is the health of Nnamdi Asomugha (I wonder how often he's asked to spell that). I do not know his status yet, but I can't imagine he will be at top speed if he does play.
Simms: "Is he lined up with all-stars out there? Is it a receiving core where you say they should really focus on their receivers because you can't cover them?
Everybody gets single coverage in the NFL—every team gets single coverage on the outside for a decent number of snaps in every NFL game.
But you look at Matt Cassel. Listen, you were wrong when you talked about him when he came to the Patriots. I know you can't get over it.
After one game you came in and said, 'He's terrible and they can't win [with him].'
I said, 'Well give him a couple weeks to get used to it.'
Let's see: He's mobile, he has a good arm, he has the size, he's tough. that's the one thing you have to admit about it. It comes across as you watch him play, he's tough, so it fits into the makeup of what they're trying to accomplish there.
When he has to make the big throws he's throwing them in some tight spots. I always judge a quarterback this way: When you drop back, you only have so many opportunities during the game if they're open. He hits those open guys at a very high percentage just like the top quarterbacks in the NFL do."
This may be one of the few complimentary analysis of Matt Cassel I've ever read. To be honest, I trust Phil Simms more than the people who will read this, and my own bias opinion. Phil Simms was a great quarterback and he's a great announcer and analyst.
So, what does this all mean? To me, this is the game they let Cassel loose, to some degree. He's not going to do a Phillip Rivers, thankfully. Look what that has done for the Chargers.
He's going to be looking down field a lot more than usual, and he'll have more passing attempts than usual.
Any team that has a run game like the Chiefs should have an effective play action pass game. I think the lack of that has been one of the things that has kept the Chiefs from having an excellent offense.
One of the biggest challenges will be the offensive line. The Raiders have been very good at getting to the quarterback. Conversely, Matt Cassel is one of the fewest sacked quarterbacks in the league. Last year he's was the second most.
Each team has to avoid turn overs, that goes without saying. The Chiefs lead the league with only four turnovers. Both teams are good in net turn overs, with the Raiders a +2 and the Chiefs at +5.
The other thing I read about is the weakness of one team in this area, or strength in another. It seems to me, the end result is really what matters.
The difference between points scored and points given up. Regardless where you give them up, how you give them up boils down to to this number, which normally leads to the scoreboard, the net between the two.
The Raiders are seventh in the league and the Chiefs are sixth. Two well matched teams.
To sum up, we have two teams that have been playing good football. The Raiders have garnered much of the attention because they apparently ate their Wheaties over the last two weeks. Prior to that, they were 2-4, and not a very good 2-4.
The Chiefs, on the other hand have been fairly consistent all year.
Obviously both teams will run the ball, but Matt Cassel will have his best game of the year and be the difference in this game.
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