OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-6) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-6)
SERIES HISTORY: 115th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead series, 60-52-2. The Raiders won the first meeting this year, 31-30, on a 2-yard pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree on an untimed down following a Chiefs penalty. It snapped a run of five straight wins by Kansas City. The Chiefs still own a four-game winning streak at home against the Raiders, with a 7-2 record overall against Oakland under coach Andy Reid.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Raiders have gotten to the point where they hope to accomplish the goal they had at the outset: Let their offensive and defensive fronts dominate.
On offense, that means a lot of Marshawn Lynch and some play-action from Derek Carr.
On defense, that means letting Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin loose as outside rushers and counting on Denico Autry to provide an inside presence and help keep the Chiefs from moving forward consistently. It's not complicated, but it's the way coach Jack Del Rio prefers it.
Kansas City ranks 30th against the run but hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 6 against Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, so the Raiders might find it tougher going than the overall numbers indicate.
The Chiefs' defense typically plays Carr tough, too; but, given the fireworks from both teams in Week 7, betting on another shootout looks safe.
Stopping the Raiders on third down could be all the help the offense needs to emerge on the winning side of another thriller.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Raiders RT Marshall Newhouse vs. Chiefs OLB Justin Houston. Newhouse has done an adequate job when healthy on the right side of the Raiders' multi-million-dollar offensive line. It so happens that his spot -- the lowest-paid one -- could be within the sights of Houston, who leads the Chiefs with 9.5 sacks and remains their best pass rusher. Newhouse can expect help from blocking tight end Lee Smith and fullback Jamize Olawale.
--Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill vs. Raiders CB Sean Smith. Oh, how the Raiders and defensive coordinator John Pagano will attempt to avoid this matchup. Almost as much as Andy Reid and the Chiefs will hope to manipulate it and exploit it. Hill is one of the NFL's big-play freaks, a scare tactic on every down who can wreck a game if let loose even twice per game, provided Alex Smith can locate him. Sean Smith has been solid recently, but his top-down coverage in terms of letting receivers get by has been suspect since he joined the Raiders.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORTS
--Out: G Jon Feliciano (concussion)
--Doubtful: LB Cory James (knee), DE Jihad Ward (foot)
FRIDAY INJURY REPORTS
--Out: C Mitch Morse (foot), S Eric Murray (ankle)
--Questionable: LB Tamba Hali (knee)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson. The second-year wideout delivered a breakout game against Oakland in Week 7, hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Robinson first stepped into the starting lineup following a season-ending injury to Chris Conley in Week 5. Since his big game vs. the Raiders, however, Robinson has posted just eight catches for 71 yards in five games. The Chiefs need a stronger presence from Robinson to ease the burden on wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, who combined for 10 receptions for 279 yards and four touchdowns against the New York Jets last week.
FAST FACTS: In the last meeting, Oakland QB Derek Carr threw for 417 yards and three TDs. ... RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for 101 yards in Week 13 -- his first 100-yard game of the season. In three career games at KC, he has 323 scrimmage yards and one rushing TD. ... WR Michael Crabtree has scored in three of the past five games vs. Kansas City. ... WR Amari Cooper had a career-high 210 receiving yards and two TDs in the last meeting. He has at least 10 catches and 100 yards in two of the past three vs. KC. ... DE Khalil Mack leads Oakland with 7.5 sacks, including a sack in three straight. He has 3.5 sacks in his past four vs. the division. ... LB Bruce Irvin has three sacks and two forced fumbles in past his past two games. ... Kansas City QB Alex Smith ranks second in the NFL with a 107.2 rating. He threw for 366 yards and four TDs (one for 79 yards) and also recorded a career-high 70-yard run in Week 13. He is the only player in the Super Bowl era with a 70-yard pass and 70-yard run in the same game. ... RB Kareem Hunt had 117 scrimmage yards in the last game vs. Oakland. He ranks third in the NFL with 1,297 scrimmage yards, but he hasn't hit 100 in any of the last five games. ... WR Tyreek Hill tallied a career-high 185 receiving yards and scored twice in Week 13. His six 30-yard TD catches are the most in the NFL. He returned a punt 78 yards for a TD and caught a TD pass in the last home meeting. ... TE Travis Kelce leads all NFL tight ends in receptions (66) and yards (871). He is one of four NFL players with 60 catches and 850 yards in each of the past four seasons. ... LB Justin Houston has 10 sacks in his past six home games vs. the division.
PREDICTION: These teams are going in opposite directions -- the Chiefs with six losses in seven games and the Raiders with four wins in their past six. Lynch will outrun Hunt for the season sweep.
OUR PICK: Raiders, 24-20.