By Ray Hamill
Much in line with how the NFL seems to pick its Thursday night affairs these days, the winless Oakland Raiders will host the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs tonight.
Talk about a contrast in fortunes.
The Chiefs are flying high with five straight wins (only the Patriots and Cardinals are hotter with six straight), while the Raiders are the league’s only winless team at 0-10 and haven’t tasted victory in more than 12 months now, riding a 16-game losing streak.
And it gets worse for the Raiders, who have 12 consecutive non-winning seasons. There is a very legitimate shot they will close out the season 0-16 and match the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only team to ever lose 16 games in a single year.
Their final six games features just one opponent with a losing record – the Rams (4-6) in 10 days – but that game is at St. Louis and the Rams have won three of their past five games, including two straight at home.
The Raiders’ other remaining games include the Chiefs (7-3) twice, the 49ers (6-4), the Bills (5-5) and the Broncos (7-3), five games against opponents with a combined record of 32-18.
Exactly half of the Raiders’ losses this season have been by a touchdown or less, so they have been competitive at times and it’s no stretch to suggest they could win one of their remaining showdowns.
Surprisingly, four of those close games have come on the road, while they have been far less competitive in Oakland, losing four times by a combined 54 points. (They also lost an official home game in London by 24 to the Dolphins.)
Which begs the conclusion, maybe they should move to San Antonio, where the Spurs have won more championships this year than the Raiders have won games.
If the Raiders continue their losing spiral and match the 2008 Lions, that would put them at 22 straight losses heading into the offseason, which in turn would put them just four shy of the Buccaneers’ record 26 straight losses.
The Raiders may still have a long way to go to reach that ignominious mark, but the way they’re performing these days, I wouldn’t put it past them.