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Raiders Vs. Chiefs Key Matchup: Improved Raiders Offensive Line Must Stop Tamba Hali

This week, the Raiders have the unenviable task of trying to stop Tamba Hali, who this season has established himself as one of the AFC's premier defensive ends. Last week Hali made Aaron Rodgers' life miserable and in my opinion is the player most responsible for the Chiefs' victory over the Packers. Hali was an absolute buzzsaw, slicing through the Packer line as if it were butter. He is extremely strong and fast and has superior technique at defensive end.

However, Green Bay's top two left tackles were severely injured in the game against the Chiefs, leaving Hali to deal with less talented linemen who were woefully unprepared to deal with someone like him, Hopefully the Raiders will have no such misfortune amongst their own linemen. Jared Veldheer handled Jared Allen with no trouble, but he let Julius Peppers record a few sacks and Lions defensive ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril both had success last week against the Raiders, although that didn't really have any real effect on the outcome of the game.

This week, Hali will be a vital part of what Kansas City will try to do on defense. If the Raider line can keep Carson Palmer's jersey clean, he ought to be able to spread the ball around and open up space for Oakland's running game which will be the key to an Oakland victory. If, however, Hali can be in the backfield all day and harass Palmer and blow up rushing plays, the Chiefs may knock the Raiders out of the playoff picture altogether.