Few teams have been as dominant as the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2013 NFL season. They’re one of three undefeated teams and have outscored their opponents by an average of 14 points. In Week Six, they’ll look to get over a hurdle that they haven’t been able to conquer in recent years.
The Oakland Raiders come to town on Sunday afternoon. While the Raiders have struggled for much of the past decade, they’ve managed to play well against their division rivals. In the last six years, Oakland has won every matchup at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City looks to be a legitimate contender to reach the Super Bowl, but they could be in line for a misstep. They have yet to prove themselves against top competition. Their first four wins came against losing teams, including two that are still without a victory, In Week Five, they beat a now 3-2 Tennessee Titans team that was forced to start their backup quarterback.
"Listen, we're 5-0 and we're not ashamed of that," head coach Andy Reid said. "But we also know that we got a ton of room to improve. It's important that we continue to do that."
Reid knows that despite being favored by more than a touchdown, a win is no guarantee. Oakland beat Kansas City twice in 2012, winning by double digits each time. The key to those victories was keeping the Chiefs running game in check. Jamaal Charles had just 14 total rushing yards in those two contests, including 10 in the second game, when Kansas City failed to score a single point.
The Chiefs No.1 running back could be in for another rough day on Sunday. He comes into the game as the fifth-leading rusher in football, but is battling a foot injury. He missed practice earlier in the week, but will start on Sunday.
"Jamaal's the guy," offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "He's going to go; he's a tough guy. Will we spell him from time-to-time with Cyrus (Gray) and Knile (Davis), yeah, we'll do that and give him a blow; we did it last week and we'll continue to do that. We'll just monitor his progress, throughout the game. Jamaal's very explosive and we need him on the football field; he understands that and he'll be ready to go."
The rest of Kansas City’s offense is banged up, as well. Center Eric Fisher and wide out Donnie Avery were questionable throughout the week, but Pederson is optimistic they’ll play. Avery has become Alex Smith’s top receiver in his first year with the club. Dwayne Bowe had been the team’s leading receiver for the past three years, but he has just caught 17 passes for 183 yards in 2013.
Not only are the Raiders coming off their best win of the year, which put them at 2-2 on the season, but it was also the best game of Terrelle Pryor’s young career. He completed 78.3 percent of his passes for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against the San Diego Chargers. Just like against the Chiefs, the Raiders were decided underdogs last week.
“You never win by looking at a record,” Pryor said, according to the Raiders’ official website. “It's all about who goes out there and who is the more physical team. That's what we expect. We expect to battle. Are they a good team? Yeah. I think they have one of the best defenses in the NFL. I think it's going to be the best defense we play against all year. They have a tough team, but we're very tough too.”
Start Time: 1 p.m. ET
Betting Odds: Kansas City-8, 41
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket Max
Prediction: Oakland 20, Kansas City 17