This season the Raiders have been a much improved team. They surpassed their entire 2014 win total by midseason and got their first win in week two while last week it took them until week 12 to post their first victory.
Starting 0-10 last season was rough. The losses kept piling up and at some point the Raiders were the team version of Russian roulette, with each of their opponents wondering who was going to be one to break that losing streak.
As you might expect, that team was the Chiefs.
The reason that was somewhat expected was because anyone who follows the Raiders and Chiefs knows the old adage ‘you can throw the records out the window when these two teams face each other'. And it has proven true time and time again in this historically bitter AFC West rivalry.
Last season's win over the Chiefs was one that can be placed among the greatest in this long storied rivalry. The struggling young Raiders desperate for a win, including rookie quarterback Derek Carr looking for his first win as a pro.
"A year makes a difference," said Derek Carr. "I know what to expect. I think the experience is the biggest part because you know how your body is going to feel at a certain time, you know how your body's going to react to certain things. You just stay the course. . . you know how to stay the course now, whereas last year I was learning on the fly. Now I know what I did that I liked and I try and stay doing that."
The week prior, the Raiders had lost a second close one to the Chargers in San Diego. In that game, they found a spark in second-year back Latavius Murray and they brought that spark into the Chiefs game where he caught fire. Murray torched the Chiefs in that game, including a 90-yard touchdown run early to grab the momentum.
"I just remember seeing the young guy bust a long run like that and remember the joy and excitement we had on the sideline when he did that. Those are the things that come to mind. I was just happy for him, to see him do that because it makes my job easier when he takes 90-yard [runs] to the house."
That win would set the Chiefs on course to finish 9-7 on the season and miss the playoffs. They return to the scene of the crime on Sunday with the Chiefs playoff hopes once again in the balance. This time the Raiders are also in the playoff hunt.
The Raiders would like a repeat performance while the Chiefs are undoubtedly seeking redemption.