Perfect Timing For Raider Week

What is it about Florida? It's hard to explain why the Chiefs just typically don't play well when visiting the Sunshine State. Sure, a season ago they managed to come away with a pre-hurricane victory in Miami, but this year there was no hurricane and the Chiefs looked for three quarters as if they had already evacuated anyway.

They did make it a game, and at a bare minimum still put themselves in a position to win, but it just wasn't meant to be. Also, keep in mind the difficulty factor in winning two straight road games in the NFL.

The good news is Jacksonville lost as well, leaving the Chiefs and the Jags tied for the sixth and final playoff spot. The final game of the season is looking more and more like the first round of the playoffs for both of those teams.

This week, however, is Raider week, and it couldn't come at a better time. At this point in the season it's beginning to look like 10 wins will indeed be enough to earn a post-season berth.

The only problem when the Raiders are in town is that the games are usually inexplicably close. So throw out the fact that this is one of the worst Raider teams in recent memory. Simply put, this is a divisional showdown and one of the best rivalries in all of football.

Apparently the odds makers give no credence to that. Early on, the Chiefs are 10-point favorites, but only once in the past seven meetings at Arrowhead has the game been decided by double digits.

The Raiders are coming off a game against division-leading Denver that they definitely could have won. The Broncos were heavy favorites in that game as well. There is just no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to AFC West matchups.

Is this a game the Chiefs should win? Of course, but last week in Miami we saw what a stout defense can do against the Chiefs. The Raiders also have a good defense. If Oakland didn't turn the ball over every other possession, we'd probably be talking about a four-team race in the West.

As Chief fans know, the recent history of this contest favors Kansas City. Art Shell has never won in Arrowhead (0-6), and the Raiders have dropped six straight against the Chiefs. The recipe is certainly there for a Chiefs' victory, but it will not be by double digits.

Trent Green may be out again, leaving Damon Huard to continue navigating this ship. Huard has been lights out at home, but will be facing one of the best pass defenses in the league. That will leave Larry Johnson looking to improve on his sub par performance in Miami.

The Chiefs control their own playoff destiny as of right now. However, with seven games left to go in the season that still leaves the door open for a let down. Hopefully that letdown was in Miami, but if the Chiefs can't play more consistently on the road there's another let down waiting to happen.

With only three road contests left against Cleveland, San Diego and Oakland, winning two out of the three is an absolute must if this team wants to be playing January. With the final playoff spot looking like the only possibility right now anyway, that will mean the Chiefs will be going on the road for the wild-card round. They won't be facing Miami, either. Then again, at least it won't be in Florida. Top Stories