By Kevin McGuire
It’s an old-fashioned rivalry game this Thursday night when the Oakland Raiders host the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are holding a comfortable lead in the AFC West despite coming off their first loss on Sunday, while the Raiders are looking to climb out of the basement in a season that has not gone according to plan. The Raiders may not be able to afford another loss, especially if it comes at the hands of Kansas City.
The Chiefs lost a game. Now what?
The last of the unbeaten teams in the NFL is now officially in the loss column. The Chiefs were upset at home by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a defensive battle. Andy Reid and the Chiefs have no choice but to turn the page quickly on a short week, so perhaps Thursday Night Football comes at the perfect time for Kansas City as they look to bounce back. The Chiefs not lost consecutive games since losing five straight early in the 2015 season.
Raiders look to snap losing streak
The Chiefs may be looking to bounce back from one loss, but the Raiders are trapped in a full-blown losing streak of four games. After dropping a 17-16 decision at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders are in a bit of a desperate situation to get back on track and play more the way they did a season ago. Derek Carr returned to the field after missing one game due to injury, and he expressed his frustration with the way things have gone lately. He is not alone. Look for the Raiders to hold nothing back in this one.
Chiefs are 3-0 on the road; Raiders just 1-2 at home
Given the Chiefs were undefeated before last weekend and the Raiders had gone through a losing streak, this may not be a shocker. The Chiefs have yet to lose a game on the road this season, while the Raiders have struggled to defend their home field in Oakland. The Chiefs have won nine straight games on the road dating back to last season. The last road game lost by the Chiefs? Oct. 2, 2016. Against the Steelers, naturally. The last time the Chiefs lost a division game on the road was Nov. 20, 2014 against the Raiders.
Raiders add NaVorro Bowman to defense
The San Francisco 49ers cut ties with linebacker NaVorro Bowman this week after not being able to find a trade partner for the veteran defensive player. Once he hit the free agent wire, the Raiders swept into action to keep him in the Bay area. The Dallas Cowboys were supposedly interested as well, but Bowman will now get a chance to join the Raiders and he could step right into action. Adding the former Pro Bowl player to the defense is nice, but the Raiders need to improve the offense if they are to turn the season around.
Tyreek Hill evaluated for concussion
The Chiefs could potentially be without a key offensive piece on Thursday. Tyreek Hill was examined for a concussion following Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. The Chiefs will monitor his status this week, but a short week for a player going through concussion protocol is not an ideal situation for a team. The second-year playmaker is a solid punt returner in addition to playing wide receiver.
Kareem Hunt vs. Marshawn Lynch
Get excited about this running back showdown. The Raiders picked up veteran Marshawn Lynch out of retirement this offseason, but have yet to see the vintage Beast Mode unlocked in Oakland. Lynch rushed for 63 yards for his highest rushing total since going for 76 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 10. He has just two touchdowns and 257 rushing yards this season. Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt has rushed for 630 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 255 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns so far. However the Steelers limited him to just 21 rushing yards this past Sunday (Hunt did have 89 receiving yards, though).