The Oakland Raiders are missing something, a defining feature they've had for the past seven years — their losing record.
That's right, the Raiders are .500 in November for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002, and they have a chance to take a huge step forward Sunday when they play host to the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs.
"We haven't experienced this a whole lot in the past six, seven years around here," Raiders offensive lineman Robert Gallery told reporters this week. "This is what it's supposed to be like. It's supposed to be fun. We're supposed to be in games like this. We got to keep doing what we've done the past couple weeks and we have a shot to do some good stuff this year."
The Raiders (4-4) are two victories away from ending their NFL-record streak of seven consecutive seasons with at least 11 losses. Obviously, they're aiming higher than that.
In the last two weeks, the Raiders outscored Denver and Seattle by a combined 92-17, and that's without Oakland's full assortment of offensive weapons. Receiver Louis Murphy missed the Seattle game and tight end Zach Miller was bothered by a sore foot.
Watch for these teams to keep it on the ground. The Chiefs (5-2), who play five of their next seven on the road, have the NFL's top running game (190.4 yards a game), followed by the Raiders (168.5).
Other games to watch:
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: These teams have a tendency to fly under the radar. Both are 5-2, however, and they're playing for first place in the NFC South. With Matt Ryan at quarterback, the Falcons are 16-1 at home.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia: Coming off a Monday night victory over Houston, the Colts have won three in a row and have taken control of the AFC South. The Eagles get Michael Vick back and are looking to stay within striking distance of the NFC East-rival New York Giants, who have won four in a row.
New York Giants at Seattle: The Seahawks were humiliated at Oakland last Sunday, but they're a better team at home, where they're 3-0. In years past, the Giants have had problems coping with the "12th Man" crowd noise in Seattle. Watch for false starts.
Chicago at Buffalo: Is this where the Bills pick up their first victory? In the last two weeks, they have taken Baltimore and Kansas City to overtime on the road. Now, they're back home (or at least in Toronto) against a very beatable Bears team that has lost three of four.