First Look: Raiders vs. Chiefs

For the second time in less than a month, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing their bitter enemy the Oakland Raiders. The Silver and Black bay area team heads into Arrowhead on Christmas day to face the suddenly surging home team for a nationally televised game.

When the two teams hooked up three weeks ago, the Chiefs ended their longest winning streak of the season. Since there 34-27 victory in Oakland they've won games against division rival Denver, and a high scoring Monday night affair against the Titans.

"First off, good football teams always play well in the fourth quarter (final month) of the season – real good football teams play real well." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said about his teams late season surge. "The Super Bowl teams are 18-2 in the last five years – the Super Bowl champions. So, they play well in the fourth quarter and we'd like to be a good football team and play well then. That was one of our main objectives all season."

In the past 13 years against the Raiders at Arrowhead, the Chiefs have gone 11-3. However the Raiders started to dominate play in Kansas City until last year when the Chiefs beat the Raiders to end a two game losing skid at home.

Last year the Chiefs had a three touchdown lead against the Raiders slip away before Morten Anderson kicked the game winner with only seconds remaining on the clock. One thing is certain regardless of the talent level or records these two teams always play an entertaining game.

At stake now for the Chiefs is their assault on getting back to .500 so they can build upon their success the last three weeks as they vault themselves into what could be the most important off-season in team history.

For the Raiders this season has been a disappointment as well after they got off to a 2-1 start they faded after the injury to quarterback Rich Gannon. After that they lost six games in a row and the Silver and Black's chances at making a run at the division title or getting back to respectability faded.

Though they've won two out of their last five games, they'll be hard pressed to come up with enough offense to keep up with Kansas City especially on the road.

Though last week Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins scorched the Titans defense for four touchdown passes; he'll be hard pressed to do that on the road in Kansas City. Still last weeks game against the Titans was entertaining to the fans as the two teams combined for 85 points. It did lay the foundation for the Raiders to get some steam heading into Kansas City for their Christmas day game against the Chiefs.

"This team, we feed off each other," said Raiders defensive lineman Grant Irons, who helped force a safety with 8 seconds left. "The emotion, enthusiasm, we just want to approach each and every game with that."

Saturday's game will also be the first time the Chiefs have played at home on Christmas Day since that infamous double-overtime playoff loss to the Miami Dolphins. That game back in 1971; still ranks as the longest in NFL history as the teams played into the second overtime. It was at the 82:50 mark that the Dolphins kicked the game winning field goal in old Municipal Stadium. It was the last game in that dreadful but cozy stadium for the Chiefs. The next season they moved into Arrowhead.

The Chiefs hope to start a new trend on Christmas Day. Next year Christmas day falls on a Sunday and it's likely that the NFL will be playing a full tilt of games on Santa's busiest day of the year.


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