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NFL Preview - Oakland (2-4) at Kansas City (1-5)
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Something has to give in the City of Fountains on Sunday when longtime AFC West rivals Oakland and Kansas City hook up at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs have yet to win on their home field this season (0-3) while the Raiders have failed to record a victory as the visitor (0-3).
It's Brady Quinn or bust for Romeo Crennel and Kansas City, at least for now. The former Notre Dame star will be under center for the Chiefs when they host an Oakland team shooting for its sixth consecutive win at Arrowhead.
Crennel made the change thinking Quinn gives the Chiefs the best chance to win, not because of any lingering effects from the concussion Matt Cassel suffered three weeks ago.
"I felt like the most impactful move I could make to get everybody's attention was to change the quarterback," Crennel said. "Hopefully that impacts the team because the quarterback position is the one that has the spotlight on him."
The lowly Chiefs are coming off their bye and have lost three straight since their lone win of the season -- a 27-24 overtime triumph at New Orleans in Week 3.
Quinn started two Sundays ago in a 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay after Cassel suffered the concussion the previous week in a 9-6 loss against Baltimore. In his first start since the 2009 season, he completed just 22-of-38 passes for 180 yards with a pair of interceptions against the Buccaneers.
Despite that pedestrian performance and the fact that Cassel is now medically cleared to play, Crennel is sticking with Quinn.
"I'm not saying Matt Cassel is the reason we are where we are," Crennel said of his 1-5 team. "We need to coach better and we need to play better."
Cassel has connected on just 58.5 percent of his throws for 1,150 yards with five touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. He was also sacked 13 times and there were even some cheers from Chiefs fans during the game against Baltimore as Cassel left the field hurt, drawing criticism from players and media outlets.
Kansas City, which has lost four consecutive games at home dating back to last season, has been awful in 2012, unable to hold a lead in regulation and losing four games by 16-or-more points.
Quinn, the 22nd overall pick in 2007 by the Cleveland Browns, has completed just 53.2 percent of his passes during his career and is a less than stellar 3-10 as a starter.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Quinn said. "There's always pressure, but pressure is what you make of it. As a quarterback in this league, you're used to it."
The Raiders come in on the heels of a 26-23 overtime win over Jacksonville in the Bay Area when Sebastian Janikowski's 40-yard field goal in the extra frame capped an impressive comeback as Oakland rallied for the win.
Jacksonville began the extra session with the ball, but a fumble by Cecil Shorts on a catch on third down was recovered by Oakland at the Jaguars 21- yard line. After Carson Palmer took a knee to line the ball up, Janikowski calmly hit the ball down the middle for the win.
"An ugly win is better than a pretty loss," Palmer said. "We did not play up to our standards ... but it's good to get out of here with a win."
Palmer went 26-for-46 with 298 yards, one touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one interception against the Jags as the Raiders snapped a two-game losing streak.
Despite the five-game skid at home in the series Kansas City still holds the all-time advantage against Oakland by a 53-48-2 margin.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
With the unsettled situation at quarterback, look for Kansas City to rely on its running attack. The Chiefs average an AFC-best 164.0 rushing yards per game thanks in large part to Jamaal Charles, who is gaining 5.8 yards per carry over his last three games and is getting a league-high 119.3 scrimmage yards per game in 2012.
Quinn has been criticized for settling for his check down far too early and often but if he can get it outside the numbers, look for Dwayne Bowe, who has 48 receptions for 698 yards in his career against Oakland, his most vs. any opponent.
"We haven't seen him in a while, so what we saw last game in Tampa, I thought he managed the game well," Crennel said when talking about Quinn. "He showed some poise in the course of the game, and as I mentioned, he was rusty. I think that he will get better with more reps and also more playing time. That's what I anticipate. That's what I expect."
The Raiders would love to put the heat on the unproved Quinn but their pass rush has been virtually non-existent so far this season. Matt Shaughnessy has been Oakland's top pass rusher and he has just 2 1/2 sacks.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Raiders, it's all about their veteran signal-caller Palmer, who is 3-2 against K.C. in his career. Palmer has excelled vs. AFC West foes since taking over as the Raiders starter, averaging nearly 300 yards per game with nine TDs and a solid 91.2 passer rating.
About the only positive for Kansas City so far this season has been its bookend pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Since Oakland's tackles, Jared Veldheer and Khalif Barnes, can struggle with speed at times, it's paramount to get the explosive Darren McFadden going in order to set up play- action for Palmer in the passing game. McFadden has rushed for 199 yards on just 33 carries in his two games in Arrowhead.
"We want to run the football," Palmer said. "That's what we talk about, that's what we work on. That's what coach (Dennis Allen) is always preaching. You run the ball better, those (rushing) yards go up and the passing yards go down.
"The more you run the ball, the more defenses focus on it and then you really get a chance to throw it downfield and the naked bootlegs and long play- action."
Oakland remains the Chiefs' biggest rival and the current five-game home losing streak to the Raiders has been an embarrassment to the Kansas City organization.
"Why would I want to tell them that?" Crennel said when asked if he let his players know Oakland has won five straight at Arrowhead "I'm trying to stay positive. Hopefully they can read, and if they read, they'll find that out."
All kidding aside Kansas City has to re-install some pride in the organization and the best way to do that is start turning your season around by winning a rivalry game.
"Wow. Five straight times. That's got to change," Hali said of the skid against the Raiders. "Our team needs to be aware. We've got to get a "W." We've got to chalk that one up because at the end of the day that's not a good feeling knowing that we've beaten here five times by a team."
Having the extra week to get ready should have been enough for the Chiefs coaching staff to get some solid game planning done. That could be the advantage that allows a bad Kansas City team to top a flawed Oakland club.
"It's big time," Quinn said. "Getting the opportunity to start, having it be the Raiders, a divisional opponent, an opponent that goes back a long ways in history, being a rival of this club, it means a lot. So, we're doing our best to prepare right now, put in a good game plan. We feel confident going into the game, and we're trying to get a win."
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Chiefs 20, Raiders 14
10/25 11:11:07 ET
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