CHIEFS (5-1) AT RAIDERS (2-4), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Chiefs by 3; O/U: 47
Perhaps the biggest upside to Thursday Night Football is the opportunity to forget about Sunday’s struggles and start the week with a win. But enough about my Week 6 picks.
Last week 11 of 14 underdogs beat the spread, with nine winning outright. Among the losing favorites were the Chiefs and Raiders. While Kansas City suffered its first defeat, Oakland dropped its fourth straight after a 2-0 start. Doesn’t Marshawn Lynch’s sideline dance during the Week 2 rout of the Jets feel like eons ago? The Raiders followed that with losses at Washington and Denver, and at home to the Ravens and Chargers. Last week’s loss to L.A. on a last-second field goal was a tough one, and if we picked solely based on “Which team needs the game more?” then Oakland would be the clear choice. But that’s not how this works.
It’s hard to back the Raiders considering Derek Carr’s back injury. He was hurt in Week 4, sat out Week 5 and rushed back last week. He didn’t appear to be 100 percent, throwing for just 171 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Now he faces a team he’s 1-5 against, with six TDs, five INTs and 18 sacks.
Kansas City has owned this AFC West rivalry, winning five in a row and seven of eight. It won 26-10 and 34-20 in its last two trips to Oakland, and these Chiefs are even better. Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt and the electric offense had an off day against the Steelers, but that can’t erase the blistering 5-0 start. The Chiefs (5-1 ATS) will bounce back. Oakland (2-4 ATS) will keep it close for as long as it can, but its skid will continue as Kansas City starts a new winning streak.
The pick: Chiefs