Flashback to the start of the season.
The Chiefs had been a playoff team in 2017 but faced the uncertainty of breaking in a new quarterback with only one game of experience.
The Raiders had an experienced quarterback and just committed to bringing in a Super Bowl-winning coach on a 10-year deal.
Schedule-makers probably looked at the two teams and decided they would face off in a season finale that would pit the two best teams in the AFC West, possibly with the division title at stake.
Well, the Chiefs have held up their part of the bargain, coming into the game as not only the top team in the West Division but at 11-4 the best team in the entire AFC.
The Raiders? They are also 11-4, but only if you reverse the categories into loss-wins.
Funny though, the AFC West division may indirectly still be on the line as the Chiefs are tied with the Los Angeles Chargers at 11-4 but hold the tiebreaker. The Chiefs may need a win against the Raiders to ensure not only the division title but also the top overall seed in the conference and a first-round bye.
In other words, they have something to play for. But while the Raiders don’t have anything on the line (except a better draft spot by losing), they have shown in recent weeks that they haven’t completely given up.
The Raiders knocked off the Denver Broncos last week, 27-14, in their home finale and have won two of their last three. So they won’t go down without a fight.
But a road game against the high-powered Chiefs may be too much to ask for the Raiders at this point of the season. Patrick Mahomes leads the top-ranked Chiefs offense with 48 touchdown passes on the season. He has amassed 4,816 passing yards with weapons such as tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill at his disposal.
The Chiefs cut top running back Kareem Hunt after a domestic violence incident a few weeks ago, but that hasn’t seemed to slow them down much.
The Chiefs defense, however, has actually been worse than the Raiders on the season. They rank 31st in the league, while the Raiders come in at 25th.
Derek Carr continued his interception-free streak last week to nine straight games and 325 passes. Doug Martin scored his first 100-yard rushing game since 2015 when he ran for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. Jared Cook continues to be the Raiders best receiving threat with 868 yards on the season, good for fifth on the team’s all-time list.
While the Chiefs defense has been porous, they do a good job of getting to the quarterback. They are tied for second in the league with 49 sacks and defensive end Chris Jones has sacks in 11 straight games.
Both teams come into the game very healthy. The Raiders had no one missing practice on Wednesday with an injury designation while Kansas City only had wide receiver Sammy Watkins out with a foot injury.
The Chiefs opened as a 14.5-point favorite but that number has been bet down to 13.5 points. The over/under opened at 54 points, but that number has been shaved to 52.5 Game time is 1:25 p.m.