KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The number of the week is six.
The Chiefs (5-0) seek to improve to 6-0 when they host the Oakland Raiders (2-3) at Arrowhead Stadium in Week Six.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have won six straight games at Arrowhead Stadium.
“That’s ridiculous,” Chiefs long snapper Thomas Gafford said. “That’s going to stop this week. To lose to the Raiders at home is not fun, it’s not good.”
Indeed, it hasn’t always been good for the Chiefs when the Raiders started the streak with a 20-17 win on Nov. 25, 2007. The Chiefs have since gone through three coaching staffs and two general managers before John Dorsey and Andy Reid arrived.
And if the Chiefs can lean on experience for an edge when it comes to rivalry games, Reid knows all about them from his years in the NFC East.
“I’m all about rivalries, I get it,” Reid said during Monday’s media session. “It’s exciting. I know our fans are going to be crazy, I know that. Our players are going to be fired up for it.”
Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson is one of the players in the locker room who appeared to be up for Sunday’s game against an AFC West rival.
“Raiders Week is taken seriously, the rivalries here are taken seriously,” Johnson said. “Best believe when we go out there on Sunday we know what’s at stake and we’re going to try and protect our territory here at Arrowhead.”
Kansas City and Oakland meet for the 109th time on Sunday, marking the most the Chiefs have faced a single opponent. The Chiefs hold a 55-51-2 overall record against the Raiders, including a 28-24-1 record at Arrowhead Stadium.
But that home-field advantage has been minimized because it comes back to six.
Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson said the streak hasn’t really been viewed as a big deal, citing the struggles of both organizations in recent years.
However, after reflecting on Oakland winning six straight games at Arrowhead Stadium, the native of Blue Springs, Mo., said the problem needs to be addressed.
“It’s disappointing, obviously, they’re our rivals,” Stephenson said. “That’s something we’ve got to get fixed. Arrowhead is supposed to be a tough place to play, especially for teams like the Raiders and other teams in the AFC West, so it’s something we hope to get fixed this year.”
Still, some Chiefs players, such as kicker Ryan Succop, took a business-like approach to Sunday’s rivalry game.
Succop said he wasn’t superstitious and didn’t really think too much about the six-game home losing streak. He added games should be viewed as independent of each other and the goal on Sunday was to come away with a win.
“The one thing we’re really excited about is a chance to play Oakland at home,” Succop said. “It’s a big AFC West game for us, obviously it’s a big rivalry, and we’re going to give everything we have to get this win.”
Chiefs linebacker Akeem Jordan, who is new to the rivalry, appeared to echo Succop’s stance.
“We just have to focus on us, pay more attention to details and preparations for the Raiders,” Jordan said.
Chiefs safety Quintin Demps is also new to the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry, but the sixth-year pro has seen his share of rivalries during previous stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans.
Demps said a team’s mentality goes up a notch whenever a bitter foe comes to town.
“It’s almost like a playoff game,” he said of a facing a rival. “It’s going to be a fight out there. We’re going to be scratching and clawing to see who wins. I’m excited and glad it’s at our place first. May the best man win.”
When informed the Raiders have won six straight matchups against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Demps was genuinely surprised and said he would ensure his teammates were aware of it.
“Oh, have they really?” Demps said. “That’s extra motivation, man, that’s not good. You don’t come in my backyard and beat me up. I’ll be sure to tell some of the guys that.”