Chiefs vs. Raiders: 10 Kansas City Players to Watch

Bill Robbins@bill_kc28Correspondent IOctober 21, 2011

Chiefs vs. Raiders: 10 Kansas City Players to Watch

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    The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Oakland Raiders in a pivotal road game for KC this weekend.

    All eyes will be on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, as he has played very well in his last two games.

    Fill-in RB Jackie Battle is also a player to watch for in this game as he rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in his career just one game ago.

    Here are 10 Chiefs to watch for in this game, including the aforementioned Cassel and Battle.

Matt Cassel

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    The Chiefs QB has struggled throughout his career against the Raiders.

    Since becoming KC's starting quarterback, Cassel is just 1-3 against Oakland with three touchdowns and six interceptions.

    The task will not get any easier this year as Oakland's defense is still very tough overall.

    Cassel has to play well if Kansas City is going to be effective on offense this weekend.

Jackie Battle

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    In one of the biggest surprises for the Chiefs this season, fourth-string RB Jackie Battle rushed for 119 yards on 19 carries against the winless Colts in his team's last game.

    Although the Colts have one of the weaker run defenses in the league, the Raiders have been struggling in that area as well.

    Battle could be KC's only hope of getting anything going in the running game with Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster both struggling right now.

    Can the former University of Houston star come close to repeating his performance in Week 5?

Steve Breaston

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    New receiver Steve Breaston has been a nice complement to No. 1 Dwayne Bowe so far this season.

    After a slow start, Breaston has now averaged around 70 receiving yards per game in the last two contests.

    His play this Sunday in Oakland will be key as Matt Cassel will likely not have a lot of time to throw the ball on passing downs.

    If Breaston can continue to beat man coverage, it will help open up the rest of the passing offense for the Chiefs.

Keary Colbert

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    Former Carolina Panther Keary Colbert has been a pleasant surprise for KC in their last two games.

    He's picked up five catches for 57 yards during that time, which is hard to believe, considering how small his chances were at even making the final 53-man roster coming out of camp this year.

    Colbert had sat out the past two seasons, due to going to back to college and becoming a graduate  assistant at his alma matter USC.

    It will be interesting to see what else the 29-year-old wideout can do for the Chiefs in Week 7 and beyond.

Jonathan Baldwin

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    KC rookie receiver Jonathan Baldwin is supposed to make his NFL debut this Sunday against the Raiders.

    If he does, you can bet that all eyes will be on this talented wideout.

    At 6'5", 230 lbs, he could provide a big target for QB Matt Cassel in the red zone for the Chiefs' passing offense.

    The bigger questions becomes, will he even see the field at all?

Tyson Jackson

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    Third-year defensive end Tyson Jackson has actually played well for Kansas City this season.

    He's disrupted some running plays, tipped some passes, and has even chased opposing QBs out of the pocket a few times.

    It appears that the former first round pick might finally be learning how to play like a 3-4 DE in the NFL.

    It will be very interesting to see how he plays against a much more physical team in Week 7.

Jovan Belcher

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    Jovan Belcher is arguably the team's best linebacker against the run other than veteran Derrick Johnson.

    Even though he is a bit undersized for his position, he still is a force on run defense.

    However, he will have his work cut out for him this weekend when he goes up against Darren McFadden and the Raider's second-best ground game in the league.

    He needs to play big for the middle of this defense or McFadden and Co. are going to run all over the Chiefs on Sunday.

Justin Houston

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    Houston was taken in April's draft to give the team another passing rushing threat other than Pro Bowler Tamba Hali.

    Even though he hasn't recorded any sacks yet, the former University of Georgia star has gotten to the opposing QB on numerous occasions.

    The rookie seems to be getting better and better with each game.

    He still needs to get better in pass coverage and he will be tested this week, playing against FB Marcel Reece and TE Kevin Boss for Oakland.

Brandon Flowers

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    Brandon Flowers was expected to become more of a shutdown corner in the 2011 season.

    Instead, the fourth-year cornerback has had a very rough start to the campaign.

    He's been beat in coverage for several touchdowns already, and has yet to make much of an impact for the defense other than his two interceptions.

    This Sunday, he will likely go against Raiders No. 1 receiver Darius Heyward-Bey, and it will be interesting to see how Flowers will respond to his lackluster play so far this season.

Javier Arenas

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    Javier Arenas was selected by KC in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft to help shore up a nonexistent return game.

    So far, he has managed to not find the end zone from any of his kick or punt returns in his one-plus seasons with the team.

    According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, Arenas should expect to have a better chance of returning punts, since Raiders' Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler often out-kicks his coverage by a wide margin.

    If this is the case again this weekend, Arenas needs to shine for KC and get his first NFL touchdown.