How will artificial turf affect Raiders?

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How will artificial turf affect Raiders?

For the first time this regular season, Oakland will be playing indoors and on artificial turf. So do the Raiders gameplan differently for the fake stuff?"Not really, from our side," said Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. "But from my experiences, I'll tell you this -- (Atlanta's) front four is typical of most teams that are turf teams. They do play at a faster level on turf than they do on grass, so you have to account for that when it comes to protection issues."But as far as our side of the ball, our guys are so used to playing on turf from their high school, college and pro careers, you don't change a whole lot from that standpoint."Coach Dennis Allen agreed."Well, what you have to understand is the team that were playing, obviously, on that turf, in that dome, is a different team," Allen said. "They play extremely fast in that environment. So, weve got to be prepared for that and weve got to be able to match their intensity."Said running back Darren McFadden: "It's not that much of a difference to me because at school I always practiced on turf every day, pretty much. So, a lot of guys say it bothers them but for me it's not much of a difference. Feel like the turf, some folks say it's slower, some folks say it's fast, but I feel like it may be faster."

Raiders' Mack, Osemele honored on PFWA's All-NFL team

Raiders' Mack, Osemele honored on PFWA's All-NFL team

Honors keep piling up for a pair of star Raiders. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and left guard Kelechi Osemele were named to the All-NFL team, an all-star list created by votes from members of the Pro Football Writers of America.

The association released it’s all-league and all-conference teams on Monday.

Mack is obviously deserving. He had another excellent season, with 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. He also had 16 tackles for loss, the NFL’s second-highest total in 2016.

Mack is among the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year awards. The PFWA will announce their DPOY on Wednesday.

Osemele signed a record contract for an offensive guard, and lived up to his five-year, $58.5 million contract with $25.4 million guaranteed.

He was one of the NFL’s best guards, and added a nastiness to the Raiders' offensive line that helped them excel running the football. He was an excellent pass protector as well. He didn’t allow a sack, and gave up just two quarterback hits and nine other pressures in 2016.

The PFWA honored four Raiders on the All-AFC team: Mack, Osemele, center Rodney Hudson and left tackle Donald Penn were on the all-conference roster.

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?

Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game.

The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play.

"I think it's going to be a showdown," Bell said. "Two great quarterbacks going head to head. Two of the best teams in the AFC. It's time to settle it next week."

Since 2001, the Patriots and Steelers have combined to win nine AFC titles.

Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher - the first overall selection in the 2013 draft - was penalized for holding. The next try failed.

With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.

The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.

"The coaches put a lot of trust in me to get the job done," Bell said of his 30 carries. "Just run hard. Just picked my spots where I could and run hard."

The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.

Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.

The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.

A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier.

The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry - burned for 26 yards on the previously play - picked it off in the end zone.

Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.

"It's just about doing my job," Boswell said. "Coming out here, put it through the yellow pipes. Don't really think too much. Don't think like I'm the guy or anything. I'm just doing my job and doing my one-eleventh for the team."

Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.

WEATHERMAN

Switching the game from noon local time to an evening kickoff to avert an ice storm had no effect on the crowd. Fans arrived early, tailgated in the rain as the worst of the storm never hit the area. But fog rolled into Arrowhead Stadium in the second quarter, obscuring some views from on high. Not that what was going on was worth watching for Chiefs fans.

NOTES

Bell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). ... Boswell's four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. ... Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Head to New England for a shot at making the Super Bowl.