This year it has been a real struggle to find things to root for so this rivalry game is a nice relief right now. This rivalry has dulled in the eyes of some but to me it will always be strong.
If there is one team whose season is more of a nightmare than the Raiders it is definitely the Chiefs. The disappointment between the two is similar but the issues that Kansas City had to deal with were beyond imagination.
The Raiders are making no bones about their intention to strongly evaluate their roster for the future. They are concentrating mostly on seeing who will remain with the team for next year. That is a type of motivation that could lead to the players really playing well, or it could lead to a terrible game because of young players that wouldn't normally be on the field.
The Chiefs on the other hand are in a bit of a different position though. There is not going to be as much of a roster turnover for them as they are deeper in many areas. They already know their path to improvement is straight through their QB position. With knowing that much of their roster is solid they probably will have a more standard game approach this week than the Raiders.
I would expect a lot of Jamaal Charles in this game. The first game between these teams this year featured a laughable lack of use of Charles, I don't think they will make that mistake again. Charles has had a nice year returning from his serious injury in the previous season. Considering the tumultuous season in KC it is bittersweet but comforting for them to know their star RB is still the same player.
The Raiders secondary will feature Phillip Adams making his first career start and he absolutely deserves it. Its too bad that he won't get the opportunity to go against the Chiefs Dwayne Bowe who will miss this game. Instead he will cover a player that should be good but hasn't been in Jon Baldwin or a sneaky veteran in Steve Breaston. No matter who he covers I will be rooting for him to play well.
Brady Quinn is the quarterback who will be testing Phillip Adams. Quinn isn't the future of KC but he has been playing pretty well after replacing Matt Cassel. The Raiders this year have shown a talent at making average quarterbacks look great though so hopefully they don't perfect that talent this week.
Oakland's offensive line held up well in the first meeting and need to do so again. This game is always physical and I expect that tenacity to increase due to the frustrations of their terrible seasons. With that extra aggressiveness comes a bigger importance on the trenches. Whoever wins in the trenches will be the winner of this game.
Carson Palmer needs to play mistake free football. He is losing me as a supporter of him despite my appreciation of his talents. The problem is that Carson has lost my faith in trusting him and for him to restore it I need to see a game without a bad turnover. That even includes under pressure which is a strong possibility when playing a team that has such a talented defense. If mistakes of others result in a turnover that's one thing but Carson can not fumble and can not throw one of his terrible interceptions.
The Raiders coaching staff absolutely needs to get a play or two for Terrelle Pryor in this game. He is a freak of an athlete and (whether he amounts to a successful player or not) he absolutely should be able to play a play or two. Just put him out there already for something, there is nothing at all to lose.
Whether or not Darren McFadden plays I want to see Marcel Reece get at least 15 touches in this game. He deserves at least that with his performances in relief of DMC. In fact he deserves at least that many touches period based off of how talented Reece is in general.
The coaching staff has had an extremely embarrassing year so far. Dennis Allen needs a win for his own Psyche as much as anybody else's. He hasn't had a game that inspires belief from Raider Nation and this is his last game that means anything left on the schedule.
The meaning of this game is all about bragging rights really. The funny thing is the argument can be made the real winner of this game is the loser who will likely go on to get the number 1 pick in next year's draft. I don't care about that though, I want to win. I want to be able to say at least we swept the Chiefs, because that is the lone remaining accomplishable goal from the beginning of the season.
Still thinking about going to the game Sunday? Think no more and decide to go! If you do go buy your Oakland Raiders tickets here.