Chiefs vs. Raiders 2013 game preview: Can Oakland play spoiler for AFC West foe?

Kansas City is going to the playoffs but one loss could put its hopes of winning the division to rest. Can Dennis Allen play the part of spoiler on Sunday?

The rivalry between the Chiefs and Raiders goes back over 50 years, but neither team has had much to boast about over the last decade. The best way to put it would be to say that Oakland, one of the worst teams in the NFL since its 2002 Super Bowl loss, has beaten Kansas City in eight of their last 12 meetings. That comes after the Chiefs had beaten the Raiders nine times in a row.

Given the current state of each team, Kansas City could be gearing up for a similar run against Oakland.

The Chiefs are currently still vying for the AFC West division while the Raiders are likely looking towards the draft again. Though Oakland's playoff hopes aren't quite dead because the second AFC wild-card spot isn't very strong this season, it'll be doing more player evaluation this week than Kansas City will.

How many solid players do the Raiders have headed into the future and what are the Chiefs' chances of getting a playoff bye week? Here's a closer look at each team.

Meet the Raiders

Oakland has been known for not giving head coaches much of a chance to redeem themselves after a poor season, but the team did bring back Dennis Allen for a second year after going 4-12 in 2012. Will they give him a third chance if the Raiders post double-digit losses again?

And will they also roll with one of their current quarterbacks as the main signal-caller next season?

Both undrafted free agent Matt McGloin and former supplemental pick Terrelle Pryor have flashed promising play this season but both have also faltered. Neither has done enough to secure any sort of future with Oakland and that's something that the team will need to evaluate with what will likely be another top-10 pick in April's draft. Do the Raiders go for a quarterback or address some significant holes on the defense?

Meet the Chiefs

One team that doesn't have many holes on defense is Kansas City. Despite a 2-14 record last season, the Chiefs sent four defensive players to the Pro Bowl: Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry. It would be reasonable to assume that all four of those players will be returning to the Pro Bowl this year, unless they're headed to the Super Bowl instead. Joining them could be defensive tackle Dontari Poe, having a monster season from the inside of the defensive line.

Houston, who is tied for the team lead with 11 sacks, will not play against Oakland this week due to an elbow injury.

The biggest difference from last season, however, is the addition of quarterback Alex Smith in a trade with the 49ers. Though Smith's numbers are not spectacular or eye-popping, he simply does not make the kind of mistakes that Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn made last season that held the Chiefs back. Smith has run a very competent and efficient offense that is still centered around running back Jamaal Charles.

With a career-high 10 rushing touchdowns and 57 catches, Charles is likely headed to his third career Pro Bowl.

Being a half-game back of the Denver Broncos after the Broncos were upset by the Chargers on Thursday night, if Kansas City can take care of business, the teams will be tied atop the AFC West. However, since Denver swept Kansas City this season, the Chiefs will still need to finish one game better than the Broncos in the standings.

If they somehow lose to the Raiders however, it would severely hurt their chances of clinching the West.

Local Takes: Oakland Raiders

Levi Damien at Silver and Black Pride wonders if the Raiders will be in for another defensive overhaul in 2014 and how they may look next season:

Replacing six starters on the defense wouldn't be as much as the Raiders had last season when they replaced nine, but it would still be the greater portion of the defense. The Raiders are set to have about $55 million in cap money to spend as well as seven draft picks.

With the way the defense has looked of late, one must assume a good amount of that money as well as draft picks will be used on the defensive side of the ball. Which means yet again, this Raiders defense and next year's team could be almost unrecognizable. But really, what do they have to lose?

Local Takes: Kansas City Chiefs

Joel Thorman at Arrowhead Pride took a look at how Alex Smith and Reid are spreading the ball around this season, as well as a projection for the rest of the year:

There was a debate at one point before the season about how many players the Chiefs would have with 40 receptions. We knew before the year that Andy Reid historically had a heavy passing attack so we were wondering how that would affect the Chiefs receivers. It appears there will end up being four receivers with at least 40 receptions, assuming Donnie Avery makes it over the hump in the next three weeks.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Silver and Black Pride and Arrowhead Pride, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@LeviDamien (Silver & Black Pride)

@ArrowheadPride

Prediction

Division games are always tough, road division games even tougher, but there is a large talent disparity between the Chiefs and the Raiders at the moment. For Kansas City to lose this game, it would have to be quite the upset, and Oakland will need to take advantage of any mistakes that the Chiefs make.

The problem is that they don't make many mistakes.

Smith has thrown only six interceptions in 13 games and nobody has turned it over fewer times than Kansas City. Playing controlled football on offense and tough defense with their bevy of Pro Bowl players should be more than enough to get the Chiefs to 11 wins.

KC 24, OAK 13

Odds

The Chiefs are 4.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com. The Raiders are a surprising 8-5 against the spread.

Next Week

On Sunday, Dec. 22, the Chiefs go back to Kansas City to take on the Indianapolis Colts at 1 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, next Sunday the Raiders go to San Diego to take on the Chargers at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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