It's been a long time since this storied rivalry meant anything for anyone other than the two teams involved. Make no mistake about this one, when the Chiefs take the field in Oakland, it is going to mean something for the rest of the division. If the 5-2 Chiefs--who have the easiest remaining AFC West schedule--win, they will open up a 2.5 game lead. If the 4-4 Raiders win, they'll reel the Chiefs back to the pack and be only .5 games out of first.
Both teams are undefeated in the West. The Raiders are 2-0 and the Chiefs are 1-0. Both teams are winning behind strong running attacks. In fact, in terms of yards per game, these are the two best running attacks in the league. The Raiders are second at 168.5 yards per game and the Chiefs first with an eye popping 194.4 yards per game.
The Chiefs visit on Oakland riding the wave of two consecutive wins. They edged out a narrow victory the week before on a last second overtime field goal against the Buffalo Bills. While the Raiders are looking to ride the momentum they've created after two blowouts gave them their first back-to-back wins since the end of the '08 season.
The Raiders also hope there recent success will translate to the rising fan support in terms of ticket sales. Tom Cable has mentioned he is hoping the Coliseum will be the kind of home field advantage for the Raiders this week that Arrowhead is for the Chiefs.
The Raiders have some injuries worth monitoring this week. Most notably, Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha sprained his ankle last week and received an MRI on Monday to determine the severity. Also, Tom Cable has said that Bruce Gradkowski is still the teams starting QB if he is healthy. This is a fact that remains to be seen. As is typical with the Raiders, I expect both of these decisions to linger until at least Friday.
Check back here for injury updates and an in depth matchup preview.
Kickoff 1:05 PM (PDT) Oakland Alameda Coliseum