Raiders begin preparations for Thursday showdown vs Chiefs
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders will have little time to prepare for their biggest game in 14 years.
The Raiders (10-2) didn't get much of a chance to savor their sixth straight victory before turning their attention Monday to an AFC West showdown against the Chiefs (9-3) on Thursday night in Kansas City.
Instead of taking their usual Monday off for the players, the Raiders were back on the practice field preparing for a rematch with the Chiefs that will play a big part in determining which team wins the division.
''We're going to be excited to play,'' coach Jack Del Rio said. ''That's how we're looking at it. Tough set of circumstances. We don't mind tough things, so we're looking forward to the challenge.''
The Raiders have handled a number of schedule challenges already this season as they are off to their best start since 2000 and poised to end a 13-year playoff drought.
They opened the season with three road games with early starts in the first four weeks and won all of them. They spent a week practicing in Florida between road games at Jacksonville and Tampa Bay and swept the trip. They bounced back from an overtime win over the Buccaneers to beat Denver the following week. They won a game in the high altitude at Mexico City and came back on a short week to beat a well-rested Carolina squad.
Now comes the trip to Kansas City, where the Raiders will try to snap a four-game losing streak against the Chiefs, including a 26-10 loss at home in October.
''The physical part, just recovering and getting guys to do everything they can to get back to neutral and feel good,'' safety Nate Allen said when asked about the challenges of a short week. ''Even the mental part is big. Something you'd have four or five days to study a team, you have two days. Everybody has to go over the top with everything preparing mentally and physically.''
With the Chiefs already winning once against Oakland, a second victory would give them a potential tiebreaker and mean the Raiders would need help to win the division. An Oakland win would give the Raiders a two-game lead in the AFC West with three remaining.
Both teams head into the game on a roll, with the Raiders having won six in a row and the Chiefs taking seven of eight. Both have a penchant for coming from behind this season, with Oakland posting six fourth-quarter comebacks and Kansas City four.
''The good teams find a way to win and they've done that as well,'' Del Rio said. ''Both teams know what it looks like to win. Should be a great game.''
NOTES: DL Mario Edwards Jr. returned to practice for the first time since injuring his hip in the preseason opener. The Raiders have three weeks to decide whether to activate him from IR. ... S Karl Joseph (foot) is in a walking boot and missed practice but has not been ruled out for Thursday. ... Del Rio had no new information on suspended pass rusher Aldon Smith, who is waiting to be reinstated by the NFL from his suspension for substance abuse.
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