4:05 PM ET, December 15, 2013
O.co Coliseum, Oakland, CA
With their longest slide of the year behind them, the Kansas City Chiefs can now focus on clinching their first playoff berth in three seasons.
The Chiefs can secure a postseason spot on the road Sunday while trying to hand the Oakland Raiders a fourth consecutive defeat.
Kansas City (10-3) ended its three-game losing streak and regained some swagger with a 45-10 road rout against reeling Washington last Sunday.
"We still have it," defensive end Tyson Jackson told the Chiefs' official website. "There's a long road ahead of us and we still have to get some wins, but it's good to have the mojo going into the rest of the season.
"It's good for our confidence and we can build from the momentum to hopefully keep this going the rest of the season."
A victory or tie at Oakland (4-9) would secure a playoff berth. The Chiefs could also punch their ticket if Miami suffers a loss or ties against New England on Sunday or Baltimore falls or ties at Detroit on Monday night.
"It's a big deal," said receiver Dexter McCluster, who returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown against the Redskins. "Having a chance to play in the postseason, you know, that's what we play for. Let the chips fall where they may right now."
What Kansas City hopes to do is build on a solid all-around performance.
The Chiefs allowed an average of 34.3 points and 371.0 passing yards while losing twice to Denver and at home against San Diego, but gave up 257 total yards to the Redskins and sacked Robert Griffin III five times.
In addition to McCluster's TD return, Quintin Demps took a kick back 95 yards for a score.
"I think that there are ups and downs in the National Football League," coach Andy Reid said. "I think you need to learn how to handle them and you can't get too high for the highs and you can't get too low for the lows.
"When you go through a three-game skid, that's not easy in the National Football League against good teams. You have to trust yourself; you have to trust the guys around you that you're going to fix the problem and that you're going to come to work with a purpose and I thought the guys did that."
Charles has averaged 6.9 yards per carry while gaining 359 and running for four TDs in the last three contests.
He recorded 128 total yards and ran for two scores as Kansas City snapped a three-game series skid with a 24-7 victory over Oakland on Oct. 13. The Chiefs had nine sacks on Terrelle Pryor and intercepted him three times, including one returned for a TD.
Though Pryor saw relief time during last Sunday's 37-27 road loss to the New York Jets, Matt McGloin is expected to make his fifth straight start. Pryor, who has started eight games, could also see time.
McGloin threw two TDs with an INT for a Raiders offense that came to life after trailing 20-3 at halftime last weekend.
Though Oakland is in the midst of its 11th straight season without a winning record, the team feels confident it can at least avoid a second consecutive 4-12 finish.
"I think we're a lot closer," embattled coach Dennis Allen said. "Obviously the record doesn't say so. We all recognize that at the end of the day this is a production business. We understand that you are what your record says you are. But I also know there's a lot of areas where this football team has improved."
With Charles coming to town, the Raiders need to improve a rush defense that's allowed 287 yards on the ground to Dallas and New York in the last two weeks. They yielded an average of 99.1 in the first 11 contests.
Oakland has also allowed Tennessee, the Cowboys and Jets to go 24 of 44 on third down during the three-game skid.
"I do think the defense is worn down, but we have to go out and we have to tackle and we have to do the things we have to do to be able to get off the field," said Allen, whose team also is trying to avoid a third straight home defeat. "It'll be something that we'll continue to work on."
It's uncertain if running backs Darren McFadden (ankle) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) will play after both missed last weekend's contest. Fullback Marcel Reese fared well in their place, rushing for a career-high 123 yards and a TD on 19 attempts against the Jets.
McFadden ran 16 times for 52 yards at Kansas City in October after he gained 224 on 59 carries in the two 2012 meetings.
Looking for its first season sweep of the Raiders since 2006, Kansas City has dropped two of three at Oakland since winning seven straight there.
McCluster will sit out Sunday after a small cut on his ankle turned into an infection following last week's game against Washington. The Chiefs were concerned it was MRSA, but trainer Rick Burkholder said tests came back negative for the serious strain of staph infection. McCluster is being treated with antibiotics.
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|Avg Points Allowed||18.2||28.1|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||KC|
|Rush Yds Allowed||KC|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Kansas City leads 15-11|
|Oct 13, 2013||KC 24, OAK 7|
|Dec 16, 2012||KC 0, @OAK 15|
|Oct 28, 2012||KC 16, OAK 26|
|Dec 24, 2011||KC 13, OAK 16|
|Oct 23, 2011||KC 28, @OAK 0|
|Jan 2, 2011||KC 10, OAK 31|
|Nov 7, 2010||KC 20, @OAK 23|
|Nov 15, 2009||KC 16, @OAK 10|
|Sep 20, 2009||KC 10, OAK 13|
|Nov 30, 2008||KC 20, @OAK 13|
|Sep 14, 2008||KC 8, OAK 23|
|Nov 25, 2007||KC 17, OAK 20|
|Oct 21, 2007||KC 12, @OAK 10|
|Dec 23, 2006||KC 20, @OAK 9|
|Nov 19, 2006||KC 17, OAK 13|
|Nov 6, 2005||KC 27, OAK 23|
|Sep 18, 2005||KC 23, @OAK 17|
|Dec 25, 2004||KC 31, OAK 30|
|Dec 5, 2004||KC 34, @OAK 27|
|Nov 23, 2003||KC 27, OAK 24|
|Oct 20, 2003||KC 17, @OAK 10|
|Dec 28, 2002||KC 0, @OAK 24|
|Oct 27, 2002||KC 20, OAK 10|
|Dec 9, 2001||KC 26, @OAK 28|
|Sep 9, 2001||KC 24, OAK 27|
Jamaal Charles has three touchdowns on screen passes in the first half. He is the first player since 2010 (first year of screen data) to score multiple touchdowns on screens in a game.
- Jamaal Charles set a career high in receiving yards Sunday (195), 172 of which came after catch. Charles' 172 yards after catch is the most since the start of 2006 (Stats & Information's data set), and 48 more than any other player in a game this season (Calvin Johnson- Week 8 vs Cowboys). - Jamaal Charles' 195 receiving yards is the most by a running back in a game since Week 16 of 1999 (Marshall Faulk, 204). - Charles is the first player this season with three touchdowns of at least 35 yards. Charles joins Doug Martin, Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson as players with three rushing or receiving touchdowns of that length since the start of 2001. Alex Smith Sunday was the only quarterback to even throw three 35-yard touchdown passes in a game this season.
The Chiefs are the third team in NFL history to win 11 games the year after winning just 2 or fewer games.[+]
Most Wins in Season After Winning 2 or Fewer - NFL History
Alex Smith completed 17-of-20 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns Sunday, thanks to Jamaal Charles catching all eight targets for 195 yards and four touchdowns.[+]
Alex Smith Passing by Receiver Sunday
ESPN Stats & Information