4:25 PM ET, December 16, 2012
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Battling through a dismal season on and off the field, one of the Kansas City Chiefs' few positives has come in the form of inspirational performances from the player possibly affected the most by the recent tragic events.
Riding three consecutive 100-yard games, Charles looks to help guide Kansas City to its ninth victory in its last 10 visits to Oakland without top receiver Dwayne Bowe when these AFC West rivals meet Sunday.
Not only did Charles lose a teammate in the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide Dec. 1, but his wife's cousin, Kasandra Perkins, was the victim. Despite the tragedy, ensuing memorial services, wakes and funerals, Charles has managed to stay focused while not speaking publicly.
Charles, who leads the AFC with 1,220 rushing yards, ran for 127 in Kansas City's 27-21 victory over Carolina one day after the Belcher incident, following up a 107-yard effort in a loss to Denver one week earlier.
He scampered for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of last Sunday's 30-7 loss to Cleveland, finishing with 165 yards for the struggling Chiefs (2-11).
"I think it speaks to the character of him as a man, how he's able to have an optimistic perspective despite all the things he's been through right now," said Brady Quinn, who completed only 10 of 21 passes for 159 yards and an interception against the Browns. "It really speaks to who he is as man."
Charles last rushed for over 100 yards in four straight games during the last four weeks of the 2009 season. To match that mark he'll have to overcome a Raiders defense likely focused on stopping the run with Bowe missing the rest of the season with injured ribs.
"We've leaned on him all year," coach Romeo Crennel said of Charles. "He's been the consistent staple in our offense. We kind of lean on him."
It hasn't been quite all season as Crennel suggested, seeing as Charles had only five carries and caught three passes for a total of 10 yards in a 26-16 loss to Oakland on Oct. 28 -- a surprising development Crennel explained only by saying, "Now, that I'm not exactly sure, either."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen doesn't foresee Charles playing such a limited role this time around, though, as Charles has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of the six games since that contest.
"I would think that they would turn around and hand the ball off to him. He's one of the more explosive players in the league," Allen said. "I would anticipate they would try to get him the ball."
Oakland, which has lost six straight since beating the Chiefs, and Kansas City each are allowing 131.2 rushing yards per game -- tied for 26th in the NFL -- and the Raiders (3-10) hope to get some production from their top back as well.
Darren McFadden, who ran for a season-high 114 yards in the first meeting, rushed 11 times for 52 yards before tweaking his already injured right ankle in the fourth quarter of last Thursday's 26-13 loss to Denver.
He had missed the previous four games with the injury, but the long layoff has given McFadden time to heal. He's expected to play Sunday, and defensive end Richard Seymour, who has missed the last five games after suffering a Grade 2 hamstring tear against Tampa Bay on Nov. 4, also could be ready to go.
"I thought he looked well and yeah, I think there's a good chance he's going to play this week," Allen said.
Linebacker Rolando McClain was reinstated Monday after serving a two-game suspension following an argument with Allen at practice Nov. 28. A team that's allowing a league-worst 30.9 points per game can use all the defensive help it can get, especially facing Charles.
Allen, though, is aware Oakland also is building for the future with 2012 being a lost season. He said younger players will see more time over the final three games, including former Ohio State star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has yet to take an official NFL snap in his two seasons.
"All of us, as competitors, we want to win," Allen said. "But I also understand, and I've got a big-picture view of what I want this football team to look like. We've got to prepare for the future."
Both Charles and McFadden were out with injuries for Kansas City's 28-0 victory Oct. 23, 2011, in the most recent meeting in Oakland.
More from ESPN.com
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Chiefs-Raiders: What to watch
After watching film of both teams, Scouts Inc. breaks down key elements of the Week 15 Chiefs-Raiders matchup.
• Sustain drives: Neither team is particularly proficient when it comes to converting on third down. In Week 14 the Chiefs converted on just one of their 11 opportunities against the Browns while the Raiders converted on just two of their eight chances against Denver. The Chiefs have the league's fifth-ranked run game, averaging 149.2 yards per game, and should be able to keep themselves in relatively short third-down situations. Oakland is ranked 26th in run defense.
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|Avg Points Allowed||26.2||28.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||KC|
|Rush Yds Allowed||KC|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Kansas City leads 13-11|
|Oct 28, 2012||KC 16, OAK 26|
|Dec 24, 2011||KC 13, OAK 16|
|Oct 23, 2011||KC 28, @OAK 0|
|Jan 2, 2011||KC 10, OAK 31|
|Nov 7, 2010||KC 20, @OAK 23|
|Nov 15, 2009||KC 16, @OAK 10|
|Sep 20, 2009||KC 10, OAK 13|
|Nov 30, 2008||KC 20, @OAK 13|
|Sep 14, 2008||KC 8, OAK 23|
|Nov 25, 2007||KC 17, OAK 20|
|Oct 21, 2007||KC 12, @OAK 10|
|Dec 23, 2006||KC 20, @OAK 9|
|Nov 19, 2006||KC 17, OAK 13|
|Nov 6, 2005||KC 27, OAK 23|
|Sep 18, 2005||KC 23, @OAK 17|
|Dec 25, 2004||KC 31, OAK 30|
|Dec 5, 2004||KC 34, @OAK 27|
|Nov 23, 2003||KC 27, OAK 24|
|Oct 20, 2003||KC 17, @OAK 10|
|Dec 28, 2002||KC 0, @OAK 24|
|Oct 27, 2002||KC 20, OAK 10|
|Dec 9, 2001||KC 26, @OAK 28|
|Sep 9, 2001||KC 24, OAK 27|