Oakland Raiders December Schedule Preview

2 of 5

Dec 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass and is pressured by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 6: Kansas City Chiefs

Though Oakland will face some tougher teams in December, earning a win in their first contest against the Kansas City Chiefs will substantially benefit their late playoff run.

The Chiefs are one of the five teams in the AFC with a 6-5 record and are currently slotted in for one of the two remaining wild card spots. With a win over Kansas City, not only will Oakland propel themselves closer to a playoff berth, but an upset victory over their division rivals should also give them the confidence needed for them to have a chance against some even tougher opponents in the future.

Fortunately for Oakland, Kansas City is a bit banged up at several key positions, as running back Charcandrick West, outside linebackers Justin Houston, and offensive tackle Eric Fisher have been limited in practice due to various injuries. Though none of the players listed are expected to sit out Sunday’s game, having several players that aren’t 100 percent in what looks to be a must-win game for both teams isn’t necessarily ideal.

If Houston does suit up come Sunday, him and Tamba Hali will be two key players for Kansas City’s defense that can easily take over this game. Though Oakland’s offensive line has surprisingly come together as one of the top units in the NFL, Houston and Hali are two of the best edge-rushers in the league in attacking the quarterback. According to ESPN.com, Houston and Hali have combined for 14 sacks in 12 games.

Similarly to Houston, Oakland Raiders edge-rusher Khalil Mack has been dominant both against the run and the pass, but unfortunately for Kansas City, their offense line hasn’t had much success this season. Even if Fisher lines up at left tackle, he has been inconsistent at the least, while the right side of their offensive line hasn’t put together a solid performance all season. The Chief’s offensive line has allowed the third-most sacks this season (35), via NFL.com.

Outside of the trenches, Kansas City has the clear advantage with Eric Berry and Sean Smith in the secondary, but Oakland cornerbacks David Amerson and T.J. Carrie have been turning it on as of late and could benefit from an easy matchup against the Chief’s weaker receiving corps.

Jeremy Maclin leads the team with 57 receptions for 772 yards, while no other receiver for Kansas City has more than 20 receptions and 262 yards, via ESPN.com. Expect Alex Smith and company to focus their game plan around tight end Travis Kelce rather than their receivers, for he already receives a great deal of targets and Oakland’s defense has proven incapable of stopping opposing tight ends.

Prediction: Oakland Raiders 24 Kansas City 20

Next: Week 14: Broncos