Greg Cote

NFL has had many prime-time stinkers this year, but Raiders-Chiefs isn’t one of them

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the first half of their NFL football game, in Kansas City, Mo. The Raiders are 10-2 and leading the AFC West, one of the surprise teams in the NFL, while the Chiefs are 9-3 with a win over Oakland already in their pocket. The winner of their primetime matchup at frosty Arrowhead Stadium on Thurs., Dec. 8, 2016, will have the inside track on ending a lengthy division title drought, not to mention the potential for a first-round playoff bye and a home game in the second round.
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the first half of their NFL football game, in Kansas City, Mo. The Raiders are 10-2 and leading the AFC West, one of the surprise teams in the NFL, while the Chiefs are 9-3 with a win over Oakland already in their pocket. The winner of their primetime matchup at frosty Arrowhead Stadium on Thurs., Dec. 8, 2016, will have the inside track on ending a lengthy division title drought, not to mention the potential for a first-round playoff bye and a home game in the second round. AP

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).

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.

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