Week 14 of the 2016 NFL schedule officially kicks off tonight when the Oakland Raiders take on the Kansas City Chiefs from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. In what may be the biggest game of the weekend, the Chiefs are hoping that they can beat the Raiders for the second time this season and take over first place in the AFC West.
While sometimes it is just a cliché to say that teams enter a game “red-hot” or on a roll, this time it is the hardcore truth.
CBS Sports reports entering tonight’s game, Oakland has won six games in a row – and nine of their last 10 overall. So what team could slow down a team that is on such a roll? How about the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have won seven of their last eight contests, including back-to-back road games against the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.
Yep, these two teams are playing some great football right now.
The Chiefs are the home team tonight, however, that may make the Raiders a bit more confident. Oakland is a perfect 5-0 on the road so far in 2016. They will need to play their best once again this week when they face the Chiefs, who are always tough to beat at home.
The Chiefs are 4-1 at Arrowhead this season, and they finish the season with three of their last four at home. If they beat the Raiders tonight, they will have the inside track on capturing the AFC West.
For the Raiders to win, they will need their star quarterback to continue his great play. Derek Carr is having one of the best seasons for a quarterback in Raiders history. If he keeps up his averages, he should throw for 30-35 touchdowns and may flirt with 5,000 yards for the season.
Right now Carr and the Raiders aren’t worried about personal stats. Even though they are currently the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they can’t afford to slip up. The difference between the first seed and the fifth overall seed is one game. That is how tough the AFC conference, and namely the AFC West division, has been this season.
Andy Reid knows how big this games is. Reid doesn’t want to hear about how the Chiefs already beat the Raiders this season. He knows Oakland has improved greatly since that game back in October.
“Both teams know each other,” said Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid. “They’ve made changes defensively that have made them better on that side of the ball. They’re playing very good all the way around in the different phases. They were a little down on the defensive side early on but they’ve picked up in that area. They’re flying around and making plays.”
Just like the Raiders need Derek Carr to perform well, Kansas City needs Alex Smith to do the same.
Smith once again is having a great season for the Chiefs. He has only thrown 11 touchdowns so far in 2016, but he has tossed just four interceptions in 371 attempts. Smith is the model of consistency, yet he is hardly mentioned amongst the top QB’s in the game. Whether he gets the media attention or not, this guy is a winner.
Las Vegas odds makers have the Chiefs listed as a three-point favorite with the over/under number set at 46.
It is hard to beat the same team twice in a season, especially when both squads are so good. However, the 12th man, along with the weather (temps are expected to be in the single digits with the wind chill factor at game time) may play a factor tonight. But the most important reason is the short week.
This game should be a classic, but in the end the Chiefs will pull out the win.
Pick – Chiefs -3
Tonight’s Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs match-up will air nationally on NBC. The game can also be seen streaming live online through the NBC Sports Network. Fans on the go can watch every play on their tablet, cell phone or any other device by downloading the NBC Sports App.
[Featured Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]