The Chiefs host the Raiders Sunday at 3:25 p.m. with a shot at first place in the AFC West on the line.
The Chiefs bring a nine-game winning streak into the contest, while Oakland's lost five of their last eight.
The Chiefs defense has grown into one of the NFL's best, having forced 28 turnovers this season. When you combine that with an NFL-low 13 giveaways, you can see why KC's one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
Of course, the doubters (Bronco fans) point to the Chiefs schedule as the prime reason for the win streak. KC has only beaten one winning team during the streak. (Denver's seven-game win streak included three winning teams.)
Earlier in the week, Chiefs coach Andy Reid was coy when asked whether he would rest several of his top players.
"We’re going to prep ourselves to play the Raiders," Reid told the media. "There are a bunch of scenarios out there – don’t really care about all of those. We’re going to focus in on the Raiders and make sure we get ourselves ready."
Two years ago, Reid decided to rest several key starters, including quarterback Alex Smith, in KC's final game. As the Chiefs had already secured a wild card playoff spot.
The quarterback always has a target on his back. Last season in their game against the Steelers, Smith was sacked six times and suffered a lacerated spleen. He was out the rest of the season.
When he played for San Francisco, Smith suffered a concussion that kept him out long enough for him to lose his starting job to Colin Kaepernick.
But this season is very different for Smith and he said it’s a source of pride to make it through the entire grueling season.
"I mean yeah, for sure. Not just quarterbacks, but I think all players. It's tough, it's a physical game and you work hard to take care of your body and stay in shape and do all of those little things and it's obviously a great deal of luck also that goes into things like that. But certainly, a source of pride for all guys in team sports to be accountable, to be there every week and your teammates can count on you week in and week out that you're going to be there, but certainly quarterbacks are different.” Smith said.
The Chiefs-Raiders game will kick off at the exact same time that Denver hosts San Diego. You can see the Broncos game on KCTV5.
"If you have an opportunity to win the AFC West," Reid said, "I think that’s important. At the same time, it’s also good to be in the playoffs."
The Raiders possess a dangerous offense, with tremendous weapons in QB Derek Carr, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and running back Latavious Murray. They gave KC an excellent game four weeks ago, when three late Oakland turnovers fueled a Kansas City comeback.
This isn't the first time Oakland has ended their season in Kansas City. On January 2, 2000, the Chiefs blew a 17-0 lead in losing the game- and the AFC West title- in a 41-38 overtime defeat.
That win allowed the Raiders to finish 8-8, as they turned the franchise around over the next few years, reaching the 2003 Super Bowl.
This Raiders team is walking the same path. A win would allow Oakland to finish at 8-8 this season, and under the leadership of new coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders see good things on the horizon.
For the Chiefs, the future is now.
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