KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs have won five in a row, including seven of the last eight games.
And it would be easy for a team coming off a win against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks to overlook the Oakland Raiders, especially with a showdown looming on the horizon against the Denver Broncos.
But don’t expect the Chiefs to change how they approach game week, much less fall in a trap considering Thursday night’s winless opponent.
“We don’t even talk like that around here and that’s not even the way we think, not the type of group that we have,” quarterback Alex Smith said during Wednesday’s locker room media session. “We do such a great job I think of kind of living week-to-week.”
Virtually every NFL locker room has the standard “taking it one day at a time” or “week-to-week” cliché, but the Chiefs arguably live by those words largely in part to the head coach.
“I think you just need to go through the process I’ve always done,” coach Andy Reid said. “Whether you win or lose the game before, you get back on the process of getting ready to play a game. This one’s just a bit hurried up because of it being on a Thursday. If you do that the right way, it’s all time consuming and you don’t have to worry about all those other things.”
Reid has a reputation of being prepared and focused that it passes to his players. So, it’s not surprising when the players don’t take the bait whenever asked about an opponent not on the weekly radar.
That holds true given the short preparation period the Chiefs have before boarding the plane Wednesday to travel to Oakland.
In essence, the players don’t have time to think about Thursday being a potential trap game or worry about a game a little less than two weeks away.
“To be peeking ahead at all is ridiculous,” Smith said, “especially here on a short week, on the road, in a division game – all those things. We’ve got our hands full here in the next few days.”
Thursday night marks the 111th meeting between the Chiefs and Raiders.
The past showed the disdain the two organizations held for the other, and tight end Travis Kelce apparently did a little studying.
“I know about it all,” Kelce said. “I know the history of the Chiefs-Raiders and how the organizations don’t really like each other. I just kind of fit in. I bring my tenacity and bring what I have to the table and go out there and play aggressive football.”
Still, the rivalry is a shell of its former self and has arguably fizzled in recent years.
The only driving force for the annual Chiefs-Raiders matchup seems to come more from fans and small pockets of the media than players.
[Related from the 2013 season: Can rivalries exist in the modern NFL?]
True rivalry or not, at least Reid has an appreciation of the storied past.
“There’s just something about the history of it,” Reid said Wednesday. “I know the guys feel that. You can’t help but feel when you’re out there. It’s a wild place to play and they remind you that it’s a rivalry every snap.”
CONSIDER IT DONE
Ask Kelce the importance of having running back Jamaal Charles in the backfield and the compliments flow
“He does it all,” Kelce said. “Everything, even in the run game. In the pass game, he blocks, receives. He can do it all. What that guy does for our team is very special.”
Kelce points out credit should be distributed to the offensive line, the wide receivers blocking down the field and quarterback Alex Smith’s ability to get the ball to the receivers in a timely fashion.
But as for how the second-year tight end feels about Charles?
“Right now he’s the best back in the league,” Kelce said. “You can quote me on that.”