The Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) close out their remarkable, bounce-back regular season by placing host to the visiting Oakland Raiders (7-8) Kickoff is slated for 4:25 p.m. EST at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs have a playoff spot sewn up. But with a little help from the Chargers in Denver this weekend, an AFC West crown would be on the line. Head coach Andy Reid will play his starters and see what happens.
The Raiders will miss the playoffs for their 13th consecutive season. But they've got a chance seal up a non-losing record for the fifth time this millennium. And while they can't prevent K.C. from their playoff game, a win would spoil their chances of hosting one.
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Here are three keys to the game for both the Raiders and Chiefs.
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1. Don't throw at Marcus Peters. Just don't do it.
The Oakland Raiders found out about Peters (8 INT) the hard way earlier this month. They shouldn't give the cornerback another signature moment to wrap his Defensive Rookie of the Year-level season with. He's a lockdown corner and must be treated thusly.
2. Add Latavius Murray in for balance
Murray's up-and-down 2015 campaign is closing out on a high note (137 rushing yards, TD, six catches in two weeks). So, expect the Raiders to feed No. 28 a steady diet of carries. He found success in his last outing (20 carries, 86 yards, TD) against Kansas City, too.
3. Give your new middle linebacker a homecoming
Ben Heeney has starred as a nickel linebacker in limited action this season. It's time to see what the fifth-round rookie can do as a pull-time, three-down starter. A little added motivation: He started all four years at K.U. and grew up in nearby Overland Park, Kan.
1. Look for No. 19 and throw
Oakland had no answer for Jeremy Maclin when the two teams met in Week 13. His final stat line? Nine catches, 95 yards, and two game-deciding touchdowns. He's found the end zone five times in the last five weeks. K.C. can surely add to that total against a secondary that's not very good.
2. Put two hands on the ball, Travis Kelce
Kelce got Charles Woodson-ed in early December and his fumble nearly changed the game. This time, the big tight end better wrap up the ball before absorbing contact. The Raiders need turnovers like that to win; the Chiefs can't let them happen.
3. Watch out for Woodson trickery
The Raiders tried sending their 39-year-old out with an offensive touchdown on Christmas Eve. It didn't work, but rest assured he's begging coaches to give it another try. The Chiefs should swarm if No. 24 gets in the huddle with Derek Carr and Co.