Chiefs vs. Raiders: Players To Watch

The Kansas City Chiefs fans will try to set the world record for the loudest stadium in sports history Sunday when the Oakland Raiders visit Arrowhead Stadium. If the Chiefs players move their record to 6-0, there’s a good chance the crowd will have no trouble smashing that record.

Even though the Raiders come to Kansas City as significant underdogs, don’t expect them to be push overs. They are fresh off an impressive 27-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers in a game QB Terrelle Pryor looked more polished than his experience would indicate.

Of course, the young quarterback did his damage against the Chargers at home and not in front of a crowd like the one he’ll be facing at Arrowhead. And that’s where the crazed, Sea of Red enters the equation, ready to rattle Pryor and the rest of the Raiders offense.

The Kansas City defense will take the assist from the crowd, but haven’t needed much help this season. They have been average against the run, one of the toughest teams to throw against and overall no team has allowed less points per game.

Though the Chiefs could be without some key players on defense starting with cornerback Brandon Flowers. He was listed as questionable on the Chiefs final injury report of the week and is dealing with injuries in both of his knees. Also missing could be safety Kendrick Lewis, though he was able to practice on a limited basis at the end of the week. Star linebacker Justin Houston was being monitored for concussion-like symptoms and while he seems to be a full go, it’s always tricky when you start dealing with concussions.

On the other side of the field, the Raiders have done a good job on the ground, holding teams to a just 96 yards rushing per game. But in the air teams have thrown for over 268 yards per game.

It could serve as a test for Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, a guy that has done a great job of limiting mistakes, but hasn’t had to carry the team yet. On top of Oakland bringing a stout run defense, Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles continues to be hampered by severe blisters on his feet.

The Chiefs are looking to keep pace with the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West while the Raiders are hoping to just stay in the race. Here are the players on offense, defense and special teams that will decide things on Sunday.

Offense: Dwayne Bowe

The Raiders can be had in the air, but the Chiefs need someone to step up and take advantage. Will Bowe finally step up and be that guy?

Thanks to an undefeated start, it’s been mostly ignored that the man handed a huge contract in the offseason has been almost invisible. Through five games Bowe is just the Chiefs third-leading receiver behind WR Donnie Avery and Charles. He’s put up just three yards more than tight end Sean McGrath.

Expect Bowe, especially with a banged up Avery lining up on the other side of the field, to easily top the four catches he has had in four of the Chiefs five games.

Defense: Dontari Poe

On top of trying to deal with a crowd that could be historically loud, Pryor and the Raiders offense will also be working without their starting center, Stefen Wisniewski. The veteran has already been ruled out, which is setting the stage for Poe to continue his impressive sophomore campaign.

Poe had seven tackles and a sack last week and this season he’s only been shut out against the high-octane Philadelphia Eagles offense. He should easily build on his 19 tackles and 4.5 sacks that he has so far in 2013.

Even as a rookie learning how to play in the NFL, Poe got up for the Raiders games. His two games against Oakland were some of his best performances.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

The best way to rattle a quarterback? How about pin him deep in his own territory all day long? That’s where Colquitt comes into play.

Last week the veteran turned in one of his worst games in years. Even if you put aside punts of 29 and 9 yards (!!!!), Colquitt failed to put a single ball inside the 20. The last time that happened was Week 8 of last season.

Look for Colquitt to pump up his average of three punts inside the 20 against a Raiders team that has returned just eight punts.

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