GAME SNAPSHOT: Chiefs (3-8) vs. Raiders (4-7) KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET GAMEDATE: 12/05/04 SURFACE: Grass TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Steve Beuerlein; DirecTV, 718 SERIES: 88th regular-season meeting. Chiefs lead 43-42-2 in regular-season series after winning both games last year. Chiefs broke a three-game losing streak in Oakland with a 17-10 victory last October. 2004 RANKINGS: Chiefs: offense 2nd (3rd rush, 5th pass); defense 30th (17th rush, 30th pass). Raiders: offense 19th (32nd rush, 8th pass); defense 26th (22nd rush, 25th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME:
RB Priest Holmes is out and Raiders RB Tyrone Wheatley is unlikely to play, which could actually turn this into more of a barnburner because both offenses will attack a struggling secondary. Raiders QB Kerry Collins is beginning to click with his young receiving corps, and the Chiefs don't have much depth to contend with Oakland's speed - especially if S Jerome Woods misses a second consecutive game.
CB Phillip Buchanon has played better recently, but will still be targeted by Chiefs QB Trent Green - assuming he can overcome a rib injury to play. Kansas City will rely on a tandem of RB's Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson, and the key to success isn't how many yards they can rack up, but whether they can push the Chiefs into the end zone in the red zone. Green also must avoid the costly turnovers that have plagued him late in each of the past four games.
Chiefs - TE Tony Gonzalez is on pace to tie his career high of 93 receptions set in 2000. The NFL record for a tight end is 96, set by New England's Ben Coast in 1994. Raiders - Collins is averaging 7.38 yards per pass attempt in his last five starts, up from 5.45 in his first three starts. Collins has completed at least 57 percent of his passes in five consecutive games.
PREDICTION: Raiders 30-28
QB Todd Collins took the majority of practice snaps for a second day Thursday while starter Trent Green watched from the sidelines while nursing sore ribs and a bruised hip. Though Collins has not started an NFL game since 1997 when he was Buffalo's starter, the Chiefs say they would give him the same game plan they would Green should Collins have to start against Oakland.
K Lawrence Tynes has missed two PAT's this year, even though he's 12 of 15 on field goals with four of seven from 40-plus yards. He'd be well advised not to miss another point-after gimmie, however. "If he misses a third," Coach Dick Vermeil promised, "I'm going to Rockhurst High School and getting their kicker. High school kids don't miss PAT's."
RB Priest Holmes told Chiefs officials he did not author a statement attributed to him on his official website that in effect apologized for missing the remainder of the season. Shortly after being asked about the statement by the team, a different version of the statement appeared on Holmes' site in which he tells fantasy football players only that he's sorry he missed the time he did -- four games, as of Sunday's game with Oakland that Holmes will miss. Vermeil repeated again Thursday that he thinks Holmes will play again this year.
FS Jerome Woods missed a second day of practice Thursday. While listed as only questionable for Oakland, he's on the dark side of that. Shaunard Harts likely will start in his place, just as he did when Woods missed last week's San Diego game with a knee injury.
SS Greg Wesley missed a second day of practice Thursday and is expected to miss a second straight game against Oakland this week. Wesley injured a hamstring warming up for last week's San Diego game. First-year player Willie Pile will start in his spot.
DE Vonnie Holliday has been ruled out of the Oakland game with a groin injury. Rookie Jared Allen will start as he has in the past several weeks when he has all but replaced Holliday as the starting right defensive end.
SS Marques Anderson (quad) did not practice Thursday and remains doubtful for Kansas City.
Rookie S Stuart Schweigert said he was practicing with the first team and would fill in for in Anderson at SS if Anderson's quad injury prevents him from playing.
FB Zack Crockett will get some snaps at tailback with Tyrone Wheatley out with a hamstring tear. The Raiders premiere third down back the last five years has only four carries this year, none on third down. He has been a blocking back for Wheatley in such circumstances.
WR Ronald Curry was honored for having made the top play of the week in the NFL by Levitra. His one-handed touchdown catch in the end zone against Denver helped the Raiders come back from an 11-point deficit to win by one.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Quarterback Trent Green missed a second day of practice Thursday but insisted that he plans to be ready for Sunday's game in Oakland.
"I plan on practicing (Friday) and being able to go on Sunday. That's my agenda, anyway," Green said. "I feel good about the progress I'm making."
Green, the AFC's fifth-rated passer, is listed as questionable after taking a couple of shots to the midsection in the loss to San Diego last week.
The failure of backup running back Larry Johnson to properly pick up a blitz early in the third quarter got Green his first shot to the midsection. He took another just before the two-minute warning when the Chiefs were in a must-pass mode, down by a field goal.
"They were in the same general area," Green said of the two hits. "I've got bruised ribs and a bruised hip that are causing some muscle tightness. There's really not a whole lot you can do but take it easy and keep those muscles loose.
"(Resting a week) would be the easy thing to do, but I'm too hard-headed to consider that," said Green, who has started 59 consecutive games since arriving in Kansas City before the 2001 season. "Especially with the team struggling the way we are, but it would be the wrong things to do."
No less than four weeks ago Charles Woodson was so discouraged with the apparent lack of effort on the Raiders he threw out the possibility they might not win another game -- which would have meant a 2-14 record.
Three games and two wins later, things look quite a bit different. Not only have the Raiders matched the number of wins they had last year with five games to go, but they aren't even in last place.
Such is the stuff of promise for an Oakland team that felt playoff worthy back in August. However, Woodson recommends caution before making pronouncements a remission has taken place based on Sunday night's 25-24 win over Denver.
"I think we had a situation like this last year against Minnesota," Woodson said. "Then the next week we came out and lost. So only time will tell."
The Raiders had gone into that game against the Vikings 2-7 and were on a five-game losing streak. They stunned the Vikings, 6-3 at the time, 28-18. The following week they lost at Kansas City, 27-24, and finished the season 1-5.
It is a lesson they don't want to have to be taught again.
"Hopefully, the guys will take a lot from this last game and know that we can pretty much play with anybody and beat anybody and win this week against Kansas City," Woodson said.
Or know that they can lose five games in a row, which they have already done twice in two years already.