The Chiefs travel to the Black Hole to take on the Raiders Sunday. I sit down with PFS Manager and diehard Raider fan Rybcon to get (and give) some answers.
1) Can you tell me what's going on with Pryor/McGloin? Last I checked TP was the future, but now it's McGloin?
Really hard to say right now. The coaches are enthralled with Pryor's athleticism and what he can do from the backfield, but are impressed with McGloin's command of the offense. Both have a long way to go before (if ever) being anointed the QB of the future. I think we'll see both playing for the remainder of the season.
2) Is Dennis Allen on his last legs as Oakland's head coach?
I don't think so from a win-loss perspective. The Raider organization had to know the rebuild was going to be more than 1 or 2 years. To attract the type of players they need in free agency I think it's important the Raiders show some stability which means keeping the coaching staff in place in 2014. HOWEVER, the Raiders seemed completely unprepared for the Jets game and that falls on Allen's shoulder.
3) Who is a lesser known offensive player I should be worried about this Sunday and why?
Andre Holmes. He has emerged as a receiver who can make the tough catches. McGloin has no problem throwing it his way.
4) Same question, but with defense.
Sio Moore has really made a contribution. Unfortunately, he sustained a neck injury last week and may not be available.
5) All right, fire me a prediction. Who wins in the Black Hole and why?
The Raiders played the Chiefs straight-up in their 1st matchup until the O-line became decimated with injuries. But the Raiders confidence has to be a low point. They'll stay competitive, but ultimately KC wins by 2 scores.
All right, Seth, time for you to pay it forward and answer a few questions I've got...
1) Which is the real defense? The 1st half of the season or now?
Man, that's the 50 million dollar question. And I wish I knew. I DO know that the defense did "ok" against Manning at Denver, when everyone was healthy. Then Big Mike DeVito and Justin Houston went down (along with Hali against San Diego), and the defense just got carved up. It's worth noting that before Hali and Houston went down against the Chargers, they'd only put up 3 points and Rivers was getting smacked around. Then they went out and... yeah, it got ugly quick.
I think the real answer is "a little bit of both." The Chiefs have a talented, solid defense when everyone is healthy. However, it's not as all-world as it looked earlier this year. On the flip side, it's not as bad as the Chargers/Broncos made it look. With Houston back I can see the defense having a lot more success. He's absolutely our best defensive player. And DeVito, a grunt who does all the dirty work and gets no glory, made a big difference with his return Sunday. So hopefully it's closer to what we saw earlier in the year than against SD/DEN. But yeah, it's somewhere in the middle.
2) What offensive player is emerging?
Alex Smith for the most part, and Dwayne Bowe is starting to come out of his shell from earlier this year. Not that any of them are unknown names, but they've gotten significantly better as of late, so they get my vote. Knile Davis, the rookie burner at RB, is getting some attention as well after two straight weeks with big plays.
3) What happen that changed KC from a ground 'n pound to this wide open offense?
I wish I knew. The short answer is that Alex Smith is both trying more throws down the field and succeeding at them. Earlier in the year, Smith stuck with short throws almost exclusively, and the few times he was challenging defenses down the field he was overthrowing them. He was very, very "safe" with every throw.
Now? He's taking multiple shots down the field every game. Even against the Redskins he was throwing the ball down the field in the 1st and 2nd quarter (before the game got wildly out of hand). And what's more, he's hitting on them. It's been fun to watch. But the biggest difference has been Smith.
4) Reid has only made it to one Super Bowl. Do the Chiefs' fans really believe in him?
I'm unsure at this point. Clearly, he's a vastly superior coach to what we had in Romeo Crennel. And he gameplans better than almost anyone in the NFL. But his going away from the ground game and crazy-bad-at-times clock management are both cringe-worthy. I do know that we've gone from literally the worst team in the league to a team that's (at least) solid in the space of one year, so for now I believe. We'll see where we're at when the season ends and how things go next year.
5) Can't leave without a KC prediction. Does ya think you get da win?
I see the Chiefs walking out of Oakland victorious (you know I have to). I agree that their confidence is at a low point, and it has to be tough to give it everything you've got at this point in the season. I can see the Raiders keeping it close for quite some time for the sake of pride, but in the end I think it's going to end up a win for the Chiefs.
Thanks for your time, Rybcon, and here's hoping for a hard-fought, injury-free game!