Raider Week is officially underway at Arrowhead. The anticipation for this Sunday’s game, one that pits the first and second-ranked teams in the division against one another, is as high as any Raider Week in recent memory. That excitement is building some 1,800 miles to the west as well.
“It’s a big deal to us,” Raiders head coach Tom Cable said today via conference call.
Kansas City and Oakland haven’t played a game this meaningful against one another since the “Y2K Bowl” at Arrowhead on 1/2/00. If the Chiefs would have won that game, they would have won the division. Instead, Kansas City blew a 17-0 first quarter lead and lost 41-38 on a Joe Nedney overtime field goal. Oakland’s victory gave Seattle the division and Kansas City stayed home for the playoffs.
Since then, the Chiefs/Raiders matchups haven’t carried nearly as much meaning. The rivalry has always been there, but the games have lacked the extra implications. This Sunday, that won’t be the case.
“Absolutely, it’s a pivotal game,” Chiefs QB
A Chiefs victory would drop Oakland a full three games behind Kansas City with only seven games remaining on their schedule. Asking any team to make up that type of ground is a difficult thing to do.
“That’s what both teams have been working for; get yourselves back into a position where when you go out on Sunday it means something,” Cable said.
Raider Week is back!
No Claim Placed On Moss
Reading between the lines, Kansas City did not put in a waiver claim for former Vikings/Patriots/Raiders/Vikings WR Randy Moss. Even if they had, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Moss’ new home will be Tennessee, Kansas City’s opponent at Arrowhead in Week 16 (12/26/10). Tennessee was 23rd on the waiver list, one slot ahead of Kansas City. Prior to the news of the Titans’ claim, Haley said that the Chiefs weren’t interested in acquiring moss “at this time.”
"All personnel decisions we make around here, there's a number of different factors," Haley said. "Whenever there are names on the wire, we have discussion. But really, it is private discussion of what we think, and how we think different guys can help us."
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Randy,” Cassel said. He was a teammate of mine for a few years and a guy that I really enjoyed being around as a professional. He’s a guy that works extremely hard and did a great job for us. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about Randy Moss and wish him nothing but the best.”
Cassel went on to say that he didn’t petition for the Chiefs to put in a waiver claim on his former teammate. As a starter with New England, Cassel connected with Moss on 63 passes for 892 yards (14.2 avg.) and 10 TDs.
The services of veteran RG
“It’s a good sign for our team that when guys are asked to step up, they do,” Haley said. “That’s what their teammates expect of them and what their coaches expect. That’s what has occurred for the most part and that’s a good sign for our team.”
Asamoah looked particularly comfortable blocking in space against the Bills. The rookie had several key “kick” blocks on the edge that helped spring Chiefs ball carriers for big yardage.
“It was a real exciting experience and I was just trying to go out there and do my best not to have a drop-off because Ryan was playing at such a high level,” Asamoah said. “I just went out there and tried to be physical and win the game.”
As for injured WR
In Oakland, it’s worth tracking the injury status of two big names throughout the week.
Today, Raiders head coach Tom Cable said that TE Zach Miller was off of crutches from a Sunday foot injury and that All-Pro CB Nnamdi Asomugha’s ankle injury was feeling much better. Asomugha is reportedly suffering from a high ankle sprain and underwent an MRI on Monday.
Number One vs. Number Two
This Sunday’s matchup not only features the first and second ranked teams in the AFC West, but also pits the NFL’s first and second ranked rushing offenses against one another. Kansas City leads the league with 190.4 rushing yards per game, while Oakland comes in a distant second with a 168.5 yards per game average.
Over the past two weeks, however, Oakland is actually the better rushing offense. Over that timeframe, the Raiders have outrushed the Chiefs 567-510 and have put up 92 points in the process.
“This looks like the best running team in the NFL to me,” Haley said of the Raiders.