Week 12 NFL picks: Is Thursday Night Football a trap game for the Chiefs?
• Last week: 9-5; Season: 108-52 (.675).
• Best pick in Week 11: San Francisco 26, N.Y. Giants 20 (Actual score: San Francisco 16-10).
• Worst pick in Week 11: Tie: Denver 30, St. Louis 16 (Actual score: St. Louis 22-7); Cleveland 27, Houston 14 (Actual score: Houston 23-7).
The pathetic Raiders have now gone a full calendar year since their most recent win, but that’s nothing compared to Matt Schaub’s plight. Oakland’s backup quarterback was on a Houston team that lost its final 14 games of 2013, then got traded to the Raiders, who have proceeded to go 0-10 with him on their roster. That’s a mind-boggling 24-game losing streak for the former Texans' Pro Bowl QB, who last tasted victory in Week 2 of 2013, a 30-24 Houston overtime victory over visiting Tennessee.
And it gets better. Or worse, if you’re Schaub. With the Texans last season, Schaub lost to the visiting Raiders in Week 11, in a game in which he didn’t start but wound up throwing 25 passes in a relief role. That’s the most recent game Oakland has won, and Schaub was there. Then, this season, the Texans played at the Raiders in Week 2, and again the visiting team won, and again Schaub was on the losing side. Schaub didn’t play in that game, but his bad karma loomed over it, and at this point “The Curse of Matt Schaub’’ is something I should probably think about trademarking.
On the other side of the coin is Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who almost can’t lose since relocating to Kansas City in 2013. Smith is 18-8 as the team’s starter in the regular season since being discarded by San Francisco, and I think it’s instructive to note that the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick -- the QB who replaced Smith -- has that exact same 18-8 regular-season record since Smith left town. The Chiefs (7-3) started 0-2 this season, but have won a blistering seven of eight since then, pulling into a surprising tie with Denver atop the AFC West, a consistency level the 49ers (6-4) have yet to find this year.
Winless or not, the Raiders pose a pretty obvious trap-game threat to the Chiefs. Kansas City is on the road in a short week, coming off a huge home win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks on Sunday, with another home game on tap next Sunday against the other Super Bowl team from last year, the Broncos. That makes this a very tricky little assignment for Kansas City, but we’re counting on the Raiders to screw something up and keep their record of futility intact.