Chiefs vs Raiders : The Kansas City Chiefs could have taken this week off, assured of not only their third consecutive AFC West title but also the No. 1 seed in the playoffs before the Oakland Raiders came to town.
== MATCH INFO ==
NFL Football Week 17
Team : Chiefs vs Raiders
Date : Sunday, December 30
Start Time : 4:25 Pm Et
Instead, they’ll have everything on the line Sunday.The Chiefs blew a fourth-quarter lead against the Chargers a couple weeks ago, and last week they lost a shootout in Seattle. They are now 0-2 with a chance to clinch the division, and they risk falling all the way to the No. 5 seed in the playoffs if they can’t defeat one of their longtime rivals.
“Last time I checked we are in a pretty good position here,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I know it can become a woe-is-me thing and this is how it happens, it can be a negative. I feel like throughout the team, though, the guys understand where they’re at and what they need to do to fix it.
The objective is to win games,” Reid said. “We have one game left here in the regular season.”
Now, the Chiefs long ago locked up a spot in the postseason, so that won’t be an issue when they kick off against Oakland at the same time the Chargers are playing the Broncos. But what happens over the ensuing hours could potentially have massive playoff ramifications.
If the Chiefs (11-4) win, they get a path through Arrowhead Stadium. If they lose and the Chargers win, Los Angeles vaults to the top of the AFC West and the No. 1 seed.
If both teams lose, the Patriots or Texans would have a chance to snare the top spot, and Kansas City could conceivably go from having a bye to a wild-card matchup next weekend.
“It’s a very small margin between winning and losing,” Reid said. “Very, very small. The pace can change quickly. So it’s important the attitude is right, and Kansas City has had a lot of ups and downs. Are players and coaches willing to make a change? We have an opportunity to do that.”
The Raiders (4-11) would like nothing more than to play spoiler. They’ve lost seven of their last eight against the Chiefs, including a 40-33 shootout in Oakland earlier this season.
But despite a season’s worth of turmoil with no end in sight — who knows where they will play next season? — the Raiders have quietly performed better. They beat the Steelers and Broncos in recent weeks and coach Jon Gruden believes his vast rebuilding job is making progress.
“We’re trying to get some momentum for our offseason,” Gruden said. “This is our first year here. I know the expectations were high for some, but we’re laying the foundation for how we want to play.