ALAMEDA -- While last week's matchup in Buffalo had all the makings of a classic trap game for the Raiders, this week's offers the same predicament for the New York Jets.Consider: the Jets played their first two at home and the last time they came to Oakland, which, by the way, is playing its home opener before a sold-out crowd, New York handed the Raiders their worst-ever home loss, 38-0, in 2009. Plus, the Jets will be without an integral part of their offensive line and just might be looking ahead to the next two weeks with East Coast holy wars at Baltimore and New England on the horizon.A look, then, at some key matchups to watch Sunday afternoon:Raiders defensive tackles Richard Seymour (92), Tommy Kelly (93) and John Henderson (79) vs. Jets center Colin Baxter (64)TALE OF THE TAPESeymour: 6-6, 310, Georgia, eleventh seasonKelly: 6-6, 300, Mississippi State, eighth seasonHenderson: 6-7, 335, Tennessee, tenth seasonBaxter: 6-3, 310, Arizona, first seasonNick Mangold is seen as the best center in the NFL. He is also out with a high ankle sprain. Enter Baxter, an undrafted rookie who was cut by San Diego in September and will be making his first career start.On the road. In the Black Hole. Against behemoths in Seymour, Kelly and, on occasion, Henderson.Surely, the Raiders interior defensive linemen must be licking their chops, right? Meh..."Nothing really, I don't change too much," Kelly said. "We have to really redeem ourselves from last week. Buffalo put up 200 (rushing yards) on us. We can't let that happen again. The Jets run the ball a lot on first and second down. They try to establish the tempo of the game. We've just got to knock their guys back and get early penetration so we can get them into third and long."Thing is, though, through both necessity (Baxter's inexperience) and film (watching Buffalo carve up the Raiders with quick, short passes), the Jets just might switch up their gameplan, making the matchup between Baxter and the Raiders defensive tackles a non-story.Not that the Raiders are anticipating that, either."They play well as a group," Seymour said of the Jets O-line. "So, it's not like they're depending so much on one guy. It's a group effort on the offensive line. They'll do different things -- I'm not saying, cover him up -- but they'll have different plays orit's not like the quarterback's not there, or something like that, a position like that where you're out in the open."It's in the trenches, so to the average fan, they probably won't even notice it."But the grunts down in the trenches most definitely will.Other matchups worth watching Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt (26) vs. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) -- Should the Raiders stuff the Jets run game, all eyes will shift to New York's signal caller. And for good reason. With visions of Sanchez chowing down on a hot dog the last time he was in Oakland, as a rookie in 2009, he might have to beat the Raiders himself. Which would play into the Oakland's gameplan, even as the Raiders were carved up by Ryan Fitzpatrick a week ago.And with the Jets boasting a three-headed receiving monster of Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason, not even Routt is sure who his assignment will be on Sunday. He'll just line up on the left side. And Sanchez could take a page from Fitzpatrick's book."This is a copycat league, so whatever you don't handle one week, you will see it until you can stop it," Routt said. "So I wouldn't be surprised."Raiders receiver Denarius Moore (17) vs. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) -- Revis Island is usually on one side of the field. But with Moore's breakout performance in Buffalo, catching five balls for 146 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, wouldn't it be just like the three-time Pro Bowler to shadow Moore to see what the rookie is all about and introduce him to the NFL?"I think he's a solid receiver," Revis said. "They have a lot of weapons on that team and there's been a lot of guys that's been hurt. (Louis) Murphy has been hurt. Jacoby (Ford) has been hurt. So, you know, (Moore) filled right in for those guys, filled some big shoes and he's out there making plays as well."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was questionable to play Thursday night’s game at Kansas City with a knee sprain.
His knee is doing just fine, thank you.
Even still, Osemele wasn’t ready to play. He was a late scratch due to an illness, which sapped him to the point he couldn’t go.
Osemele was listed about the Raiders inactives, announced shortly before kickoff.
That creates a huge void in the offensive line – the Raiders run best between Osemele and left tackle Donald Penn – that will be filled by rookie Vadal Alexander.
Alexander is an aggressive player and a good run blocker, but he isn’t on Osemele’s level. Not having the high-priced player could hinder the Raiders offensive line, which must remain strong for the attack to operate well. The Raiders have allowed a league-low 13 sacks this season.
Defensive tackle Darius Latham was questionable with an ankle injury, but wasn’t quite ready to play this game. This marks his second contest missed with injury.
Strong safety Karl Joseph was ruled out earlier in the week with a toe injury. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook and Stacy McGee are also inactive.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arrowhead Stadium has literally become a frozen tundra. Heaters under the playing surface malfunctioned on Wednesday night, allowing a layer of ice to form under the tarp in below freezing temperatures.
That information comes courtesy of an NFL Network reporter on site Thursday morning in advance of an evening showdown between the rival Raiders and Chiefs.
The field is expected to thaw by kickoff, but any remaining ice patch would add to the adversity facing the Silver and Black in a pivotal AFC West showdown.
They are the only NFL team to travel more than one time zone to play on “Thursday Night Football,” adding another wrinkle to a game that deserves to be played on regular rest. Instead teams will square off in a made-for-TV event without much time to prepare
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio could’ve griped about an adverse lot, but he refused to line up reasons why his team might not play well.
“We’re going to be excited to play,” Del Rio said. “It’s a tough set of circumstances. We don’t mind tough things. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Beating the Chiefs is a daunting task. The Raiders weren’t up to it earlier this year, when Kansas City came to Oakland and made it their home. The Raiders must even the score or find themselves in a bind. Kansas City would own the divisional tiebreaker with three games remaining, and would be in great position to win the AFC West.
The Chiefs have been Raiders kryptonite in recent seasons. They have won six of seven matchups, a trend the Raiders hope to buck on Thursday night.
“Everyone mentions, ‘They’ve beaten you this many times,’ and these things and all of that,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “When I’m preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head. That stuff never has a determining factor on anything I write down, anything that goes on in my brain or anything like that. I just prepare for them just like I do any other game. I prepare for them the same way that I do for everybody. I’m going to go out there, and I’m looking forward to competing against them though this time.”
Carr won’t compete from under center. The Raiders will stay in shotgun and pistol formations for a second straight week to protect a right pinky finger dislocated in two places against the Carolina Panthers. That shouldn’t limit them much, though it makes life harder on the run game.
The Raiders performed pretty well on the ground against Buffalo, totaling 139 yards on 32 carries. Latavius Murray led that effort, with 82 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Murray missed the last game against Kansas City with turf toe, but will be ready to take a heavy load this time around. He has been taking more carries over the last month, with a previously equal running back rotation now shading his way. Murray should be a play a big role in this contest, which should come down to the fourth quarter.
“The Chiefs are a rival that we’ve struggled with,” Murray said. “We know what’s at stake for this season. They stand in the way of our goal of winning the division. We need to take care of them.”
The Raiders must take care of Kansas City on a short week, in loud, hostile environment. Oh, and in the bitter cold. It’s expected to be 20 degrees at kickoff, with wind coursing through Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raiders don’t mind that either. They’re 6-0 in games away from Oakland Coliseum, and are confident they can overcome adversity this particular game presents.
“You just have to get your mind right and go play,” Del Rio said. “We’ll be ready to go. We have a good group of guys. Feel like we’re weather proof. We’ll go play.”