GAMETIME: 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday, December 5
LOCATION: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
HOW TO WATCH:CBS | KCTV5 Local
HOW TO LISTEN:101.1 The Fox
CHIEFS REWIND WRAP-UP SHOW:Local listings
Over the first 12 weeks of the NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) and their fans have been able to familiarize themselves with first-round pick Marcus Peters.
Peters is one of the most passionate Chiefs on the field when it comes to winning football games, and his 4 interceptions on the year is a stat that leads all rookies in the NFL.
When the Chiefs travel to take on the Oakland Raiders (5-6), it will be a homecoming for Peters, one that he said will mean a lot to him.
"It's going to be special. It's going to be real special. I get to go display my talents in front of my community, my hometown. From the start, it's been nothing but love and support coming up out of there. All I can do is just go have an excellent game and enjoy it."
Peters, under the veteran tutelage of cornerback Sean Smith, is helping to lead a Chiefs defense that over the past five games, all wins, has forced 14 turnovers.
To continue that trend Sunday, the Chiefs will need to find a way to beat Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, whose 24 touchdowns on the season to this point has already exceeded his season total of 21 from last year. Carr has also taken care of the football, throwing only 6 interceptions through Oakland's first 11 games.
"I think they're doing a heck of a job on offense and it starts obviously with Derek," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "The offensive line is doing a nice job - we know a bunch of those guys and they're playing good football there."
The Oakland offensive line has allowed just 14 sacks on the season, which ties them with the New York Jets for the league lead in that regard.
The Chiefs will have to find a way to beat the Oakland offensive line without their strongest pass rusher in linebacker Justin Houston, who is officially listed as out for the game with a knee injury. Kansas City will rely on a returning Dee Ford in a greater role than he may be used to with Houston out.
"I think we all have confidence in Dee," Reid added. "He's had some good snaps for us this year, so I think he looks forward to the opportunity of playing and having a chance to start, I think that's a big thing to him and we'll see how he does."
Across from Ford, veteran LB Tamba Hali is just 1 sack away from standing alone as second all-time on the Chiefs franchise career sack list. If he records it Sunday, Hali (86.0) will pass Neil Smith (86.5), leaving only Derrick Thomas in front of him.
The Chiefs will also be without several key players in safety Husain Abdullah (neck), wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas (concussion symptoms) and center Mitch Morse (concussion symptoms).
Zach Fulton will be called upon to fill in for Morse at center, while Tyvon Branch, returning to Oakland after playing there for the first seven years of his career, should see more time at safety in the absence of Abdullah.
Offensive lineman Jeff Allen (ankle) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (calf) are both officially listed as questionable.
The Raiders favor passing the ball much more than rushing it, so two players to watch in this game are WRs Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper.
Crabtree crossed the bay in the offseason, signing with the Raiders after five years with the San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree leads the Raiders with 6 touchdowns receiving and serves as a veteran mentor to the rookie in Cooper.
"They're like big brothers," Carr said of Cooper and Crabtree. "They both root for each other, they're both each other's biggest fan, and I think that those two are like the perfect blend to be together, especially with their personalities. They're two guys that get along well."
Crabtree's leadership has helped Cooper's seamless transition from the SEC to the NFL, as he has proven to be a fantastic first-round draft pick for Oakland.
Similar in a sense to Peters on the defensive side of the ball, Cooper leads all NFL rookies in yards receiving (851) and touchdowns (4).
It should be a treat to watch the two rookies match up on Sunday.
Quarterback Alex Smith will look to keep his franchise-record streak of 283 pass attempts without an interception going. The last time he threw an interception was against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, and he's thrown for 8 touchdowns during that stretch.
"I think it goes back to playing good team football," Smith explained of the streak, "and as a quarterback, you've got a huge responsibility. You're touching the football every single play. You have such a big impact on deciding the game, just in your decision making and how you are with the football and your fundamentals."
Smith found both tight end Travis Kelce and WR Jeremy Maclin with touchdown passes in last week's 30-22 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Running back Charcandrick West, who missed that game with a hamstring injury, should be back in the lineup for the Chiefs after practicing all week.
CB Keith Gill (ankle) and LB Neiron Ball (knee) are officially listed as out for the Raiders, and RB Taiwan Jones (knee) and former Chiefs C Rodney Hudson (ankle) are doubtful for the game.
As Peters sat in front of the Kansas City media on Thursday, he spoke about how much going to Oakland this weekend will mean to him.
Nowadays, players and coaches alike typically downplay individual games on the schedule. But Peters didn't for this one.
"For me to go home and do my thing in front of my hometown, and to be in Oakland, California playing against the Oakland Raiders, that's a dream come true," he said. "For as many people as going to be watching the game on Sunday, they're going to be able to witness it and see that it's possible for anywhere around. It's possible to come up from the bottom and make it to the top."
Peters is coming home, and it's Raider Week.