Weather forecast: Sunny, with a high near 61. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph.
Line: Chiefs -5, Over/Under: 41.5
The Chiefs are 7-6 ATS.
The Chiefs are 5-1 ATS away.
The Chiefs are 6-4 ATS as the favorite.
The Chiefs are 4-0 ATS as an away favorite.
The Raiders are 8-5 ATS.
The Raiders are 3-3 ATS at home.
The Raiders are 7-4 ATS as the underdog.
The Raiders are 2-2 ATS as a home underdog.
The Chiefs are coming off their best overall performance of the 2013 season with a 35-point victory over Washington. They already own a 17-point decision against the Raiders back in October at Arrowhead Stadium in a game that was dominated by the Chiefs defense. They allowed Oakland just one touchdown and sacked quarterback Terrelle Pryor nine times, while giving up less than 300 offensive yards. That type of defense hasn't been shown consistently by the Chiefs in the last month and the Raiders provide a good opponent to keep pushing their defensive production forward.
The Chiefs under Andy Reid are similar as they were in the best years of Marty Schottenheimer in that they live and breathe with turnovers. The Raiders call plays designed to take occasional shots but most important have Matt McGloin avoid risky plays which could result in interceptions. They'll look to run the ball with Rashad Jennings and Marcel Reece to maintain good down and distance to avoid the kind of 10-sack disaster that doomed the Raiders in Kansas City. Defensively, the Raiders have looked like a tired team for the past two games, with little ability to generate either natural pressure or with the blitz. They'll continue to play as they have, mixing coverages and sending varying blitzes -- only they'll have to do it much better.
"When you go through a three-game skid, that's not easy in the National Football League, even against good teams, explosive teams. You have to trust yourself and you have to trust the guys around you that you're going to fix the problems. I thought the guys did that." -- Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
"We want a chance to measure ourselves against these guys." -- Raiders coach Dennis Allen on playing the playoff-bound Chiefs.
--Chiefs SS Eric Berry vs. Raiders QB Matt McGloin -- It has become a "Where's Waldo" story for opposing offenses that are trying to define the role of Berry in the Kansas City defense. When the Chiefs go to one of their defenses with five, six or even seven defensive backs, Berry becomes a linebacker, moving closer to the line of scrimmage, but sometimes standing between the tackles, other times coming off the edge. That's a lot for a rookie quarterback to identify in the few seconds where he can get a pre-snap read. Berry covers tight ends, he covers running backs, he rushes the passer and he plays against the run.
--Chiefs PR Dexter McCluster vs. Raiders P Marquette King -- The rookie punter from Fort Valley State replaced long-time Raider Shane Lechler and King leads the NFL this week with a 48.8-yard average on 73 punts. Like Lechler, King sometimes outkicks his coverage and his net average is 39.5 yards and has him ranked at No. 19 in the league. He'll want to be careful with McCluster, who is averaging 11.7 yards a return and is the only punt returner in the NFL with two touchdowns. (or maybe not)
--Raiders LT Jared Veldheer vs. Chiefs OLB Tamba Hali -- Hali terrorized Pryor in the first meeting between the two teams and returned to action after missing time because of injury to get a pair of sacks against Washington, giving him 11 for the season. This time, instead of Khalif Barnes, who has moved inside to left guard, Hali will most often be faced with Veldheer, who came back on Thanksgiving after missing 11 games due to triceps surgery. Veldheer has played well and shown no effects from the injury and if he is anywhere near top form, it affords the Raiders the opportunity to single-block Hali and worry about double-teams on other matchups.
--Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers vs. Raiders WR Rod Streater -- Flowers has performed well against the Raiders as a cover corner, and he'll be running up against the team's hottest receiver. Streater has become the go-to receiver for McGloin, having caught 21 passes for 364 yards with an average per catch for 17.3 yards in four games. He also has two of his three touchdown receptions from McGloin. McGloin trusts Streater and has shown he is willing to throw "50-50" balls in one-on-one coverage, counting on his receiver to come down with the ball. It means Flowers will have the opportunity to make plays if he can jump and play with Streater.
ESPN Game Preview:
With their longest slide of the year behind them, the Kansas City Chiefs can now focus on clinching their first playoff berth in three seasons.
The Chiefs can secure a postseason spot on the road Sunday while trying to hand the Oakland Raiders a fourth consecutive defeat.
Kansas City (10-3) ended its three-game losing streak and regained some swagger with a 45-10 road rout against reeling Washington last Sunday.
"We still have it," defensive end Tyson Jackson told the Chiefs' official website. "There's a long road ahead of us and we still have to get some wins, but it's good to have the mojo going into the rest of the season.
"It's good for our confidence and we can build from the momentum to hopefully keep this going the rest of the season."
A victory or tie at Oakland (4-9) would secure a playoff berth. The Chiefs could also punch their ticket if Miami suffers a loss or ties against New England on Sunday or Baltimore falls or ties at Detroit on Monday night.
"It's a big deal," said receiver Dexter McCluster, who returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown against the Redskins. "Having a chance to play in the postseason, you know, that's what we play for. Let the chips fall where they may right now."
What Kansas City hopes to do is build on a solid all-around performance.
The Chiefs allowed an average of 34.3 points and 371.0 passing yards while losing twice to Denver and at home against San Diego, but gave up 257 total yards to the Redskins and sacked Robert Griffin III five times.
Jamaal Charles rushed 19 times for a season-high 151 yards with a TD and caught a scoring pass from Alex Smith, who has thrown half of his 18 touchdowns in the last four contests.
In addition to McCluster's TD return, Quintin Demps took a kick back 95 yards for a score.
"I think that there are ups and downs in the National Football League," coach Andy Reid said. "I think you need to learn how to handle them and you can't get too high for the highs and you can't get too low for the lows.
"When you go through a three-game skid, that's not easy in the National Football League against good teams. You have to trust yourself; you have to trust the guys around you that you're going to fix the problem and that you're going to come to work with a purpose and I thought the guys did that."
Charles has averaged 6.9 yards per carry while gaining 359 and running for four TDs in the last three contests.
He recorded 128 total yards and ran for two scores as Kansas City snapped a three-game series skid with a 24-7 victory over Oakland on Oct. 13. The Chiefs had nine sacks on Terrelle Pryor and intercepted him three times, including one returned for a TD.
Though Pryor saw relief time during last Sunday's 37-27 road loss to the New York Jets, Matt McGloin is expected to make his fifth straight start. Pryor, who has started eight games, could also see time.
McGloin threw two TDs with an INT for a Raiders offense that came to life after trailing 20-3 at halftime last weekend.
Though Oakland is in the midst of its 11th straight season without a winning record, the team feels confident it can at least avoid a second consecutive 4-12 finish.
"I think we're a lot closer," embattled coach Dennis Allen said. "Obviously the record doesn't say so. We all recognize that at the end of the day this is a production business. We understand that you are what your record says you are. But I also know there's a lot of areas where this football team has improved."
With Charles coming to town, the Raiders need to improve a rush defense that's allowed 287 yards on the ground to Dallas and New York in the last two weeks. They yielded an average of 99.1 in the first 11 contests.
Oakland has also allowed Tennessee, the Cowboys and Jets to go 24 of 44 on third down during the three-game skid.
"I do think the defense is worn down, but we have to go out and we have to tackle and we have to do the things we have to do to be able to get off the field," said Allen, whose team also is trying to avoid a third straight home defeat. "It'll be something that we'll continue to work on."
It's uncertain if running backs Darren McFadden (ankle) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) will play after both missed last weekend's contest. Fullback Marcel Reese fared well in their place, rushing for a career-high 123 yards and a TD on 19 attempts against the Jets.
McFadden ran 16 times for 52 yards at Kansas City in October after he gained 224 on 59 carries in the two 2012 meetings.
Looking for its first season sweep of the Raiders since 2006, Kansas City has dropped two of three at Oakland since winning seven straight there.
McCluster will sit out Sunday after a small cut on his ankle turned into an infection following last week's game against Washington. The Chiefs were concerned it was MRSA, but trainer Rick Burkholder said tests came back negative for the serious strain of staph infection. McCluster is being treated with antibiotics.