With all disrespect, the Kansas City Chiefs just might be the worst team in the NFL for the 2012 season. Only reason I use the word “might” is because we’re barely halfway through the season. For all we know the Cleveland Browns could go on to best the Chiefs for the title of NFL’s worst. But right about now it’s looking like a one-horse race.
That’s the kind of thinking that only a fan can get away with though. If anybody in Dennis Allen’s locker room shares a similar belief then there could be embarrassment awaiting Sunday. Luckily for the Raiders success against Kansas City calls for a very simple formula.
Stopping Jamaal Charles = Victory for Oakland.
OK…so not turning the ball over, executing on offense, improved special teams play, pressuring Brady Quinn into playing like Brady Quinn and proper game management by the coaching staff will factor in as well.
But overall Charles is about the only reliable weapon the Chiefs have outside of Dwayne Bowe. However Bowe is reliant on Quinn to get him involved. Having your fate tied to Quinn is like having your junk tied to a roller coaster. The pain is imminent.
Unfortunately slowing Charles is much easier said than done. Though Oakland’s run defense has looked better than ever in recent weeks defending Charles is a much different beast. His speed and versatility can make for a long afternoon if KC gets creative in how they put Charles’ many talents to use. Not to mention the Chiefs have had success running the rock against some of the NFL’s better run defenses.
Much like Darren McFadden, when Charles is rolling everything else begins to click for KC…usually (See Kansas City’s pathetic loss to Baltimore as evidence of the contrary). The thing about game breakers is their real value can be found in what a standout performance can do to the morale of an opponent. A couple of back breaking drives highlighted by big plays which lead to points can create a snowball effect.
For Oakland it’s all about keeping that snowball small. Make no mistake Charles will have some big moments. He’s not going to go quietly unless some of those health concerns resurface during the course of Sunday’s game. That means the Raiders will have to do their best to limit his damage. There’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal and right about now the Chiefs are a mangy dog limping around on a hurt paw with all kinds of blood pooling with each step. If Oakland wants to avoid being bitten by the rabid Chiefs then slowing Charles is the most important aspect of the contest.