Dissecting Most Crucial Matchups in Oakland Raiders’ Week 15 Contest with Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders are essentially out of the AFC playoff picture, but that doesn't mean the final three games of the season don't carry some importance.

Both the players and coaching staff will be heavily evaluated as the season winds down, and it starts this Sunday with some great competition in the form of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Outside of a difficult day for Oakland's offensive line, the Raiders played the Chiefs pretty closely in their previous matchup in Kansas City this season and could have easily come away from that game with a win.

Since then, the Chiefs' offense has taken off, while the Raiders have seemingly taken a step back on both sides of the ball.

For the Raiders to have a chance at coming away with a win this time around, it comes down to a few key matchups, once again starting on the offensive line.


LT Jared Veldheer vs. OLB Tamba Hali

In the Raiders' loss to the Chiefs earlier in the season, the offensive line had their worst game yet, surrendering 10 sacks to the dominant Kansas City front seven.

The return of Jared Veldheer to the Raiders' lineup has been a huge boost for the line in the past few games, and it will continue to be this week as the big left tackle takes on the Chief's Pro Bowl end Tamba Hali. It is still unknown as to whether or not Justin Houston will return to game action for the Chiefs this week, so if Veldheer is able to shut down Hali, the Chiefs' pass rush could struggle overall.

In turn, this would allow quarterback Matt McGloin the necessary time in the pocket to find his receivers against a Chiefs secondary that is susceptible to the big play.

Considering McGloin's ability to move within the pocket, it will be interesting to see just how much better the Raiders' offensive line can fare in this game than in the last one. Either way, this represents one of the more important matchups...

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