The 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs will host the 10-2 Oakland Raiders in primetime on Thursday night. I can’t even remember the last time we saw a Chiefs-Raiders game this big. There’s a whole generation of Chiefs fans who don’t know the Raiders as anything but a bad team.
Listen up, young pups. Back before Chiefs-Broncos, this was THE rivalry in the AFC West. Marty Schottenheimer made everyone remember it was Raider week. Every game is important but Raider week was different. We are on our way back to it being a rivalry of that level and that continues on Thursday night when these two teams meet at Arrowhead.
I was wondering when the last time we saw a Chiefs-Raiders game this was big was. I went through the history and picked out a few possibilities. Let me know in the comments if any others pop out to you.
December 2011, Week 16: Raiders beat Chiefs, 16-13. These teams were not good but the playoff implications were there. The Chiefs were 6-8 entering this game. If they had won this one and the next one against the Broncos, they would have won the division. They didn’t. The Raiders had the same scenario about winning out. The 8-8 Broncos repped the AFC West in the playoffs that year instead.
December 2002, Week 17: Raiders beat the Chiefs, 24-0. That locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC for Oakland and officially knocked the Chiefs, who needed help going into the game, out of the playoffs.
January 2000, Week 17: Raiders beat Chiefs, 41-38. Chiefs missed out on a division title and playoff spot in the final game of the season.
December 1991, Wild Card: Chiefs beat the Raiders, 10-6, in the Wild Card game. If you’re not picking one of those above, it has to be this one.
Considering the Chiefs and Raiders are two of the best teams in the AFC this year, I think there’s a real argument that this game is the biggest since that 1991 playoff game. Because it was the final game of the season I may have to lean to the biggest since that 2002 game.