Going into last Sunday, I felt the Raiders has bottomed out in their putrid performance against Denver. In spite of what the prognosticators were saying, I felt Oakland would play a competitive game against the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons.
They even exceeded my expectations, outplaying the Falcons more for much of the game, but unfortunately, came up short in a tough 23-20 loss. Now 1-4, this is officially a must-win game if the Raiders want to entertain any notion of a playoff push over the last 11 games. I say that because since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, no team has made the playoffs after starting 1-5.
And oh yeah, while this writer is not one to play the schedule game (you know, "this game is a win, this game is a loss"), if the Raiders can't beat the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, they aren't beating many other teams the rest of the year. It is as plain as that.
The Raiders should be in a position to win a comfortable (that does not mean a blowout) game. But we have seen this team allow inferior teams hang around and steal games time and time again.
So to avoid that and an official end to any realistic playoff pursuits, here are the five keys to a Raiders victory Sunday—speaking for myself of course.