ALAMEDA, Calif. – Derek Carr's first NFL win came against Kansas City after 10 straight losses to begin his career.
Since then, Carr and the Oakland Raiders haven't had nearly as much success against the Chiefs.
Carr will look to end Oakland's four-game losing streak to the Chiefs when the Raiders (10-2) visit Kansas City (9-3) on Thursday night in a game that could determine the winner of the AFC West.
"To be honest, it's the Groundhog Day thing," Carr said. "Everyone asks, 'They've beaten you this many times,' and these things and all of that. When I'm preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head. That stuff never has a determining factor on anything I write down, anything that goes on in my brain or anything like that. I just prepare for them just like I do any other game."
While the preparation might be the same, the results haven't been for Carr against the Chiefs. He has completed just 58 percent of his passes in five starts against the Chiefs for 219.6 yards per game, six touchdowns, five interceptions and a 72.0 passer rating. Those numbers are far below his career averages.
Carr will have to do better if the Raiders want to take control of the tightly packed division race with a win, moving two games up with three to go. A loss would leave Kansas City and Oakland tied with the Chiefs owning the tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping the season series. Denver goes into the weekend two games behind Oakland.
"It just shows how good our division is," Carr said. "I think it's a cool thing to be honest. I think it's awesome. Competition brings the best out of everybody. It's been like that all year. We've all been right there with each other and we've all been pushing each other. It's fun, man."
After leading the late touchdown drive to beat Kansas City at home on a Thursday night in 2014 for his first win in his 11th career start, Carr has come up short against Kansas City.
He couldn't get Oakland in the end zone until the closing minute of a 31-13 loss in his second meeting in 2014. Critical mistakes have done him in since then.
Carr threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in the first meeting last year, including one returned for a touchdown, to set up three TDs for Kansas City in a 34-20 Oakland loss at home. He was intercepted again in a loss at Kansas City to end the 2015 season.
Then in the first meeting this year, Carr led a touchdown drive to open the game before being intercepted by Marcus Peters on the second drive. Oakland got only one field goal the rest of the way in a 26-10 loss that was one of the only games in coach Jack Del Rio's two-year tenure when Oakland was never within one score in the fourth quarter.
Carr has been otherwise spectacular this season, leading five fourth-quarter comebacks as he is on pace to set career bests with a 65.5 completion percentage, 7.4 yards per attempt and a 100.3 passer rating. Carr has 24 TD passes with only five interceptions.
"I just think he's mature," Del Rio said. "He's mature. He's a young player. He's maturing and that's probably the thing that I'm most pleased with. Obviously, the productivity is awesome, but the way he has conducted himself, the maturity, the handling it, continuing to heap praise on his teammates, to make it more about us, not about anything he's doing individually. It's more about us as a team. I think that's really healthy for us."
NOTES: The Raiders practiced without helmets as Del Rio tries to keep the team fresh on the short week. ... S Karl Joseph (toe), Stacy McGee (ankle), Darius Latham (ankle) and LB Shilique Calhoun (knee) did not practice.