Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at Arrowhead Stadium.
Raiders FS Charles Woodson vs. Chiefs QB Alex Smith
Tale of the tape:
Woodson (24): 6-foot-1, 265 pounds, 17th season, Michigan
Smith (11): 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, 10th season, Utah
The Raiders beat the Chiefs in Week 12, but quarterback Alex Smith didn’t have a bad game. He was his typically efficient self, with a 94.0 passer rating against the Silver and Black. He had two touchdowns, no picks and 234 yards at O.co Coliseum.
There were other reasons the Raiders beat a divisional rival, namely the precision from quarterback Derek Carr, outstanding rushing from Lataivus Murray and heads up play by free safety Charles Woodson.
If Smith is that efficient in Kansas City, it’ll be tough to beat the Chiefs. Unless, of course, Woodson has something to say about it.
The 38-year old has been excellent this season, with 95 tackles, a sack and three interceptions this season. He iced a victory over the 49ers with an interception, and has played havoc in the run game.
As always against a quarterback of his moxie, it will take a team effort to keep Smith at bay. It’s somewhat easier because he throws downfield less than most, but he’s adept at finding skill players in space.
The Raiders, therefore, must play smart and assignment sound in this contest.
“One thing about Alex is he can hurt you with his feet and his arm and his decision making,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “You have to be right. You’ve got to do your job whether it’s a front-end or a back-end, and where we’ve improved on our defense is rush and coverage working together. We’ve got to be on point, rush and coverage working together, to hold down explosive plays, because there’s some good space players on this next football team and we’ve got to make sure we’re correct working together – angles form the outside in.
“We’ve improved on these things, but a space team like this can test those rules. So he can hurt you. He’s solid, but it’s us working together -– rush and coverage working together -– that’s the key.”