ALAMEDA – Playing the Kansas City Chiefs after a bye week is no fun. Head coach Andy Reid is excellent outsmarting the opposition when given an extra week to prepare, leading his teams to victory under those circumstances at an alarming rate.
His teams are 15-2 coming off a bye.
The Raiders drew the short straw this year.
They host Kansas City on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum. The Chiefs were idle the week before.
That often spells trouble. There’s extra motivation to right their ship after Pittsburgh humiliated them 43-14 on national television.
What’s his secret? Reid isn’t telling, but he seems to have found a delicate balance of rest and new looks.
“I think certainly he does a great job of giving us some good time off and getting rested and getting back healthy,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “I think he’s efficient with it. Then when we do come back, we dive right back into our normal schedule, which is really well thought out, and I know he puts a lot of time into. It’s hard. Certainly, obviously, in any bye week you hope you’re getting healthy, getting rested. I don’t know if there’s any one thing though that would point to that success.”
Sunday’s game was given extra juice when San Diego beat Denver on Thursday night. That moved the Raiders into sole possession of first place in the AFC West, a spot they’ll keep by beating Kansas City. The Chiefs can equal Denver and Oakland in the loss column with a victory over the Raiders.
The Raiders have only had a week to game-plan for Kansas City, though some advance work was certainly done beforehand.
The Chiefs are certainly right physically. They didn’t have a single player miss practice on Thursday, and running back Jamaal Charles claimed to be fully fit after returning from ACL surgery.
Del Rio is ready for Reid’s best and a healthy team coming off a bye.
“Good time off; time off well spent,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think we all like to put together a plan and come out of our byes and play good football. He’s done a good job of that.”
Whether it’s coming off a bye or on regular rest, the Raiders have had trouble with Kansas City recently. The Chiefs swept the Raiders last season, and have won five of the last six meetings. The Raiders lone win since 2012 was Derek Carr’s first, a come-from-behind victory that snapped a 10-game losing streak.
“We need to go out there and we need to compete and try and get a win against a team that we didn’t beat last year and we know how tough it is to play them,” Carr said. “But, that’s the mindset that we have is, yes the records are what they are right now, but that that means absolutely nothing. We didn’t beat them last year but this is a new year and we have a new opportunity.”