The Oakland Raiders once again earned a comeback victory this past Sunday, as trailing to the Carolina Panthers 24-9 in the third quarter Oakland rattled off 29 unanswered points to defeat the Panthers 38-24 at home.
At 10-2 the Raiders are currently tied for the best record in the AFC, but the division rival Kansas City Chiefs are currently breathing down the Raiders throats at 9-3 after defeating the Atlanta Falcons.
With the Chiefs just a single game behind the Raiders in the standings, this Thursday’s meeting between the two teams becomes the most important game of the season for the Raiders, who have aspirations of winning the division and earning a first round bye.
Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree said that everyone is on the same page about the importance of Thursday’s game, via Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star:
“It’s really big,” Crabtree told reporters. “It’s really big for the conference. We need this one. Everybody is on the same page. We’re going to go out here and play ball.”
Both teams will be playing on just three days of rest, as every NFL team must play at least one Thursday night game. Running back Latavius Murray said they are not using that as an excuse:
“Like you said, we have to get back to work,” Murray told reporters. “No time for celebrating much, Thursday night game, division rival. This is what we want. I’m excited and every guy on this team is excited for this opportunity. It’s time to get back to work.”
Oakland lost its first meeting against the Chiefs on Oct. 16 as Kansas City dominated every facet of the game, earning a 26-10 victory in Oakland.
The Raiders have won six straight games since that loss though, as they are currently among the hottest teams in football. Three of the Raiders’ remaining four games are division games, so the next few weeks will be really telling for this young Raiders team.