There’s no underselling the importance of the next two games for the Chiefs, who have slumped their way into a first-place tie with the Raiders and Chargers. Each team stands 6-6.
The Raiders and Chargers happen to be the Chiefs’ next two opponents, starting with Oakland’s visit Sunday to Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers follow on Dec. 16, a Saturday night game that will also be played at Arrowhead.
“It’s right here,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “This is it. We’re in the fourth quarter of the season and three of the (remaining) four are division games. “
After the Chargers, the Chiefs play host to Miami on Dec. 24 and finish the regular season with a New Year’s Eve date at Denver.
But to wrestle back control of a division they were leading comfortably only a few weeks ago, the Chiefs have find a way to stop sliding. After starting 5-0, they’ve lost six of seven.
Meanwhile, the Raiders, who started 2-4, ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Chiefs 31-30 in Oakland on Oct. 19.
“We were able to do enough to do enough to get a win that night,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said.
Even after the clock read 0:00.
The Raiders ran two untimed downs because of Chiefs penalties, and on the second, quarterback Derek Carr hit wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone from 2 yards out. The extra point provided the Raiders’ victory margin.
That outcome ended the Chiefs’ 11-game winning streak against AFC West opponents.
“You expect these (division) games to be close, hard-fought games that come down to the smallest of things,” Smith said. “It’s probably going to be a similar situation. A close game at the end and who can make the play.”