Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick: Chiefs vs. Raiders

CHIEFS (7-3) at RAIDERS (0-10)

▪ Line: K.C. by 7.

▪ Cote’s pick: K.C. 23-20.

▪ TV: 8:25 p.m., NFL (airing in South Florida).

An apparent crazy mismatch, a TV broadcast-booth nightmare, launches NFL Week 12. Right? Hmm. Don’t be too sure. Yes, on the face of it, K-City’s very good defense should crush Oak’s very bad offense, and Alex Smith should stay hot against a cornerback-hobbled Raiders secondary. I get that. I also understand K.C. has won five straight and seven of past eight overall, and that the home team’s 16-game losing streak is league’s longest since 2009. So why do I think this will be closer than the bet-line? Why do I think Oakland actually has a medium shot at an outright win? Because this is a classic look-ahead/trap game for K.C., facing a winless opponent and with a home mega-game vs. Denver on deck. Beyond that, the Raiders, though still on the schneid, have been reasonably competitive since Tony Sparano started interim-ing. The Upset Bird is begging me to go all the way on this one. I’ll compromise: Raiders-with-points.