Few games get the juices flowing more than a showdown for first place. Throw in one of sports' greatest rivalries, and the blood starts percolating.
That's what we could be in for on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium when the Raiders (10-2) visit the Chiefs (9-3) for the AFC West lead.
Going all the way back to the AFL, this is as good a rivalry as the NFL has, and when it has extra meaning – watch out.
Plus, the Chiefs have won four straight against the Raiders.
Bring it on.
''Week 1 we were saying it was the most important thing, and as you get down the line they get bigger and bigger,'' Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith says.
''That's the great thing about this time of the year, the stages get bigger and more meaningful. They save all these division games for the end, so it'll be fun. We're looking forward to it. It'll be an awesome environment on top of a huge rivalry.''
Oakland (No. 3, AP Pro 32) has won six in a row, its last defeat coming at home to KC (No. 4 in AP Pro32). The Raiders are 4-point underdogs at one of the toughest buildings to succeed in, particularly this chilly time of year.
Add in Denver also being a factor in the division …
''It just shows how good our division is,'' Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says. ''I think it's a cool thing to be honest. I think it's awesome. Competition brings the best out of everybody. It's been like that all year. We've all been right there with each other and we've all been pushing each other. It's fun, man.''
More fun for KC on Thursday.
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP: Packers came through on the Lambeau tundra. COLTS will come through indoors.
No. 23 New Orleans (plus 1) at No. 12 Tampa Bay
Buccaneers are contenders. Can you believe it?
BEST BET: BUCS, 33-23
No 6 Denver (plus 1) at No. 16 Tennessee
Titans not quite ready for this big a step.
UPSET SPECIAL: BRONCOS, 20-16
No. 1 Dallas (minus 2 1-2) at No. 11 New York Giants
Cowboys put division and perhaps a lot more to bed.
No. 19 Houston (plus 6) at No. 17 Indianapolis
Wouldn't be shocked to see Texans fall entirely out of AFC South race.
No. 10 Baltimore (plus 7) at No. 2 New England, Monday night
Ravens will make it close, but won't pull off upset.
No. 8 Pittsburgh (minus 1) at No. 20 Buffalo
That ugly non-playoff streak gets longer for Bills.
No. 28 Chicago (plus 8) at No. 7 Detroit
Lions making believers out of people.
No. 16 Minnesota (minus 3) at No. 30 Jacksonville
The Gus Bradley countdown continues, even against slumping Vikings.
No. 13 Washington (pick-em) at No. 24 Philadelphia
Redskins need this one much more than spiraling Eagles.
No. 5 Seattle (minus 3) at No. 14 Green Bay
Seahawks are banged-up right now, but so are Packers.
No. 9 Falcons (minus 4 1-2) at No. 27 Los Angeles
Now that Bucs have caught them, Falcons get things right – this week, at least.
No. 21 Arizona (plus 2 1-2) at No. 15 Miami
Did real Cardinals show up last week, and will they do so again? Hope so …
No. 22 San Diego (plus 1) at No. 26 Carolina
Cam will show up in proper attire this time.
No. 25 Cincinnati (minus 5 1-2) at No. 32 Cleveland
Many are pointing to this as Browns' only win. We're not.
No. 29 New York Jets (plus 2 1-2) at No. 31 San Francisco
Who knows? Who cares? Neither team seemed to last week.
Last Week: Against spread (6-8-1). Straight up: (8-7)
Season Totals: Against spread (90-92-7). Straight up: (112-78-2)
Best Bet: 7-6 against spread, 8-5 straight up.
Upset special: 5-7-1 against spread, 5-8 straight up
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL