The Raiders’ days as an NFL punchline have come to a screeching halt in 2016, with Oakland having secured its first winning season since 2002 and currently tied atop the AFC with the New England Patriots with a 10-2 record.
The Raiders, currently riding a six-game winning streak, have won often and often in dramatic fashion, making believers out of fans and experts alike on their journey back to relevance.
The one dud in an otherwise storybook season for the Silver and Black was a lackluster 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) in Oakland back on Oct. 16.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper caught 10 passes for 129 yards, but he was the lone bright spot for a Raiders team that did practically nothing on offense after scoring on its first drive and allowed the Chiefs to rush for 183 yards, including 131 yards in 24 attempts by Spencer Ware.
MVP candidate Derek Carr was rendered a mere mortal against a Kansas City defense that has often had his number, completing 22 of 34 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The AFC West-leading Raiders look to continue their winning ways while exacting a measure of revenge on Thursday night when they travel to Kansas City for a huge meeting with their longtime rivals at Arrowhead Stadium, which has long been a house of horrors for the Silver and Black.
Unlike in their Week 6 meeting with the Chiefs, the Raiders will have leading rusher Latavius Murray (553 yards in 140 attempts with 11 touchdowns). Murray, who missed Round 1 against the Chiefs with a toe injury, is the first Oakland player with double-digit rushing touchdowns since Marcus Allen in 1990.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers and storylines leading up to the NFL’s biggest game of the year through 12 weeks: