- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As bad as the Kansas City Chiefs have been for many of the past six seasons, it’s still difficult to comprehend the fact they weren’t able to beat the Oakland Raiders in their annual game at Arrowhead Stadium. Three times by a field goal, three times in a lopsided game in one of the most incredible periods of a remarkable series.
The Raiders are back at Arrowhead today trying to make it seven straight, but they’re returning to a different world. Arrowhead itself has come back to life and Oakland needs to be prepared for that.
The biggest difference is with the Chiefs. At 5-0, they are a better team than they’ve been since the Raiders started their Kansas City winning streak and it’s not even close. They have controlled large sections of most of their games with a suffocating defense and, unlike Chiefs teams of recent years, have shown no tendency to beat themselves with turnovers and silly mistakes.
The thing that could make today’s game interesting is that the 2-3 Raiders are in Kansas City with what might turn out to be one of their better teams than in recent years. When the season began, it looked like the Raiders might be serious contenders for the first pick in the NFL draft next year and they still could fall to that level.
But it won’t happen the way they’ve been playing lately. New starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor is completing 68 percent of his passes, has committed just two turnovers and is Oakland’s leading rusher. He was almost perfect in last week’s win over the San Diego Chargers, going 18-of-23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s a big step for Pryor and the Raiders, going from playing the Chargers in Oakland to the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Chiefs have found a way to frustrate more accomplished quarterbacks than Pryor and it’s impossible to believe defensive coordinator Bob Sutton hasn’t devised a few looks that won’t give Pryor some problems.
Pryor could make things messy at times for the Chiefs, enough that the Raiders could put a serious scare into them. But eventually a frustrating period in this rivalry will come to what for the Chiefs is a blissful end.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Raiders 13.