The Chiefs would have preferred not to have played in the late afternoon on the Sunday before traveling to Oakland for Thursday night’s game.
“You’re cramming a week’s worth of preparation and healing into a couple of days,” quarterback Alex Smith said.
Or, as linebacker Derrick Johnson says, “It kind of (stinks) for the body.”
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave it a name last season, calling Thursday night games “a poopfest,” and labeling the NFL as hypocritical for talking about player safety then making them compete with three days off between games.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio has suggested to play Thursday night games between teams in the same time zone. Last season, the Raiders visited the Kansas City on a Thursday night.
Players hate the short week for injury recovery and coaches and quarterbacks detest the reduced preparation period. But Thursday games have become part of the NFL landscape, a prime-time program that debuted with the Chiefs’ 2006 victory over the Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium.
Johnson also looks at Thursday’s game as an opportunity, given the Chiefs are coming off their first loss, to the Steelers.
“Getting beat like we did on Sunday, it’s probably happening the right way to get the bad taste from our mouths, at least try to get the bad taste out,” Johnson said.
The Raiders have the same feeling, times four. The division rival that finished 12-4 along with the Chiefs last season has matched last year’s loss total in four weeks and finds itself in desperate need of a victory after starting the season 2-0.
Quarterback Derek Carr missed one of those games, a loss to Baltimore, after he fractured a transverse process in his back. He returned to action last week in the Raiders’ home loss to the Chargers and said he’s healthy.
“The hardest thing about the injury was having to sit and watch,” Carr said.
He’ll be asked to reverse trends that have favored the Chiefs.
Carr won his first start against Kansas City, in 2014. It was the Raiders’ first victory after a 0-10 start. But the Chiefs have won the next five, some of those in their 12-game winning streak against AFC West opponents.
During the winning streak against the Raiders, the Chiefs have sacked Carr 18 times and held him to a completion rate of 55 percent.
“They’re very well coached and very assignment sound,” Carr said of the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith, off to a terrific start this season, is at his best against the Raiders. His record of 9-1 includes seven victories as the Chiefs’ quarterback.
The victory total and 19 touchdown passes are Smith’s most against any opponent. When he’s asked to explain it, Smith can’t.
“To be honest it’s probably just a coincidence,” Smith said. “They’re all different, all unique.”
But for the previous two-plus years they’ve fallen the Chiefs’ way, on normal and short weeks..
Kickoff is 7:25 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on CBS (KCTV Channel 5 in the Kansas City area) and NFL Network and streamed on Amazon Prime.