RAIDERS (10-2) at CHIEFS (9-3)
Line: KC by 3.
Cote’s pick: KC 24-20.
TV: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, NBC/NFLN (airing in South Florida).
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The nation was saddled with Monday night’s abysmal Colts-Jets game. Now, it’s as if the football gods have decided we suffered enough and deserve a reward, so NFL Week 14 opens with a great, big, important matchup as old rivals Oakland and KC duel for the AFC West lead. We even get the wintry ambience of expected temps in the teens. Chiefs handled Raiders 26-10 in Week 6 but there’s little doubt the rematch will be tighter. OAK has since won six in a row and will have RB Latavius Murray this time. Injuns parry with four straight wins in this series, and eight division wins in a row. Raiders will have the hottest defender on the field in sackman Khalil Mack but I like KC’s defense overall. Also, Alex Smith has a 107 passer rating with 18 TDs and three INTs in nine career meetings. That and the home field tip this one in favor of a Chiefs squad that has won 20 of its past 24 games yet finds the respect stubborn to find it.