Oakland Raiders (home)
Date: Dec. 8
Time: 7:20 p.m. CST
What has changed: Oakland went out and spent a ton in free agency, mostly upgrading a defense that desperately needed an overhaul. The Raiders went after and signed cornerback Sean Smith away from the Kansas City Chiefs on a four-year deal, while also inking outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks.
The loss of safety Charles Woodson is certainly significant, but Oakland has to be considered at least marginally better on this side of the ball. Smith will be going against Jeremy Maclin while Irvin and superstar Khalil Mack will be coming off the edges in search of Alex Smith.
Should they scare you?: The Raiders are clearly getting better, and they were not terrible last season. Under first-year head coach Jack Del Rio, Oakland was able to go 7-9 despite losing both contests to the Chiefs. The Raiders are going to be competitive this season, perhaps even reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2002, when they lost Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kansas City remains the more balanced and superior team to the Raiders, but this is finally a rivalry once again. This has not been a game to truly circle on the schedule since the Marty Schottenheimer era, but that has changed.
Prediction: 31-20, Chiefs
Next: Game #14