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News

Key Matchups To Watch: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Posted Dec 31, 2015

Here are three matchups to watch Sunday as the Oakland Raiders travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

In Charles Woodson’s final game at O.co Coliseum, the Oakland Raiders handled business, beating the San Diego Chargers in overtime 23-20 on Thursday Night Football.

With the win, the Silver and Black improved their record to 7-8 heading into their regular season finale Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

As we get ready for the team’s Week 17 clash with the Chiefs, let’s double-check our matchups of the week, brought to you by State Farm.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper vs. Cornerback Marcus Peters

Sunday’s game presents an intriguing matchup between two of the best players from the 2015 rookie class.

Cooper has proven to be one of the most dynamic offensive players taken in this year’s NFL Draft, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark and hauling in six touchdowns with one game left in his rookie campaign.

On the other side of the football, Peters has also taken the NFL world by storm.

He is currently tied for the league lead with eight interceptions, and his 25 passes defensed are 13 more than Sean Smith, who is ranked second on the team.

The Cooper/Peters battle is one that will surely be waged for years to come in the AFC West, and the second installment is set to kick off Wednesday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

In their first meeting, a Week 13, 34-20 win for the Chiefs, Cooper hauled in four passes for 69 yards.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith vs. Tight End Travis Kelce

Once again in 2015, Kelce has proven to be one of the most versatile weapons at the tight end position in the NFL.

Through 15 games Kelce has caught 71 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns, with his total yardage and touchdowns both ranking second on the Chiefs.

Alex Smith is known for his desire to get the entire offense involved, particularly the tight ends, and shutting down one of his favorite weapons would pay huge dividends in the Raiders bid to end the season with a win.

After struggling earlier in the season to limit the tight end, Ken Norton, Jr.’s defense has seemingly remedied the situation, limiting San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates to just two receptions for 11 yards last week.

Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Left Tackle Eric Fisher

As well as the Chiefs have been playing over the course of their nine-game-winning-streak, they have been struggling in one area, allowing sacks of Alex Smith.

The Kansas City offensive line has allowed 45 sacks, compared to the Raiders 27, which is good news for Pro Bowl defensive end Khalil Mack.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Mack currently leads the NFL with 15 total sacks, a half sack ahead of J.J. Watt, and is just one sack away from tying the single-season franchise record set in 1982 by Derrick Burgess.

The Chiefs’ line has shown their susceptible to pressure which is great news for Mack.

If the dominant second-year player can get rolling and make life difficult for Smith, it would pay huge dividends for the Raiders defense as a whole.