The Oakland Raiders travel to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, with 1st place in the AFC West at stake.
The last time the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs met — a rainy Week 6 in Oakland — the Chiefs led at halftime 13-10. The Raiders ended up being shut out in the second half, losing the game 26-10, and also losing 1st place in the AFC West.
The Raiders have not lost since that Sunday, rattling off six consecutive wins. The Chiefs have only lost once, 19-17 at home vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So this will be a battle of two teams who are currently firing on all cylinders.
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Raiders can put a strangle hold on the AFC West with a win
Jack Del Rio has touted his teams goals since day one, and goal #1 is win to win division.
The Raiders currently hold a one-game lead over the Chiefs, with only four games left to play. If Oakland can win on Thursday, they would have a two-game lead with three games left to play, all but assuring them of their first division title in 14 years.
Which game plan will the Raiders employ?
The Chiefs are a lot like the Broncos, in that they rely on their defense to force the other team into mistakes that they can’t recover from.
The Raiders used a ground-and-pound game plan to beat the Broncos earlier this year. Will we see a revisit of that game plan against the Chiefs?
Oakland run game seemed to get back on track against Buffalo, after two ineffective games against Houston and Carolina. So it would be a good time for Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard to keep on rolling.
Injured players who missed first matchup
Both Latavius Murray and Justin Houston missed the first matchup in October. Murray with turf toe, while Houston was still recovering from a torn ACL.
Both will be back, and it will be interesting to see how much they contribute to their teams success.
Tremendous opportunity for Oakland
In a year full of futility-breaking streaks, the Raiders have everything they want right in front of them. Now, this game, like their matchup in October, is not a do or die game.
But of all the games played so far in 2016, this can be Oakland’s defining game of the season — a statement game.
Win — on a short week, on the road, in one of the toughest places to play, against a division rival who you have not beat in two years — and prove once and for all that the AFC West now runs through Oakland.