2010 Oakland Raiders' Road to the Playoffs: Six Divisional Games
This is Part Two of the Raiders' Road to the Playoffs. In the first part, we looked at the Raiders non-divisional games.
To be in good shape to make the playoffs, the Raiders will have to win six of those non-divisional games.
By Week Three of last season, the Raiders had already played half of their divisional games. This season, it won't be until Week Nine before the Raiders play half of their division.
The Raiders will have to win five of the six divisional games to win the division, but could make the playoffs with three or four division games won.
Let's take a look at the six games within the division to see how the Raiders might do against their rivals.
Week Five vs San Diego Chargers
The Jets last season gave a great blueprint on how to beat the Chargers. Run the ball, get at Philip Rivers, and let their "Pro Bowl" kicker lose it for them. Sebastian Janikowski should have been the kicker for the AFC Pro Bowl team.
Rivers was frustrated because of the different looks and the aggressiveness of the Jets defense. The Raiders have the talent on defense to make life harder on the Chargers offense. The Bolts escaped last season from Oakland with a win on a final drive to win the game.
This year, the Raiders will be a much different team on offense and on defense. The Raiders will end their streak of losing to the Chargers in 2010 with a win at home.
Prediction: Raiders 27, Chargers 24
The Raiders' running game will be too much for the Chargers to handle. The Raiders stay aggressive for all four quarters on defense, and they stop Rivers and the Chargers late in the fourth to finish them off.
Week Seven at Denver Broncos
During Week Seven of last season, the Broncos were sitting at 6-0 and were enjoying a bye week. This season, they won't be able to enjoy that luxury.
Last season, the Broncos lost to Oakland in Denver on the final minutes of the game. Denver hasn't beaten the Raiders at home since 2007, and that was in overtime after Sebastian Janikowski missed the game-winning attempt.
This year, the Broncos appear to be the weaker team. For the second year in a row, the Broncos let go of a major offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall, but they did get Tim Tebow.
His jersey sales should help the Broncos win exactly zero games in 2010.
Thanks to Josh McDaniels and his lack of coaching ability, the Raiders should come into Denver and win again. The run game should be the strength of the Raiders, and having Jason Campbell will benefit Oakland in third-down situations.
Denver's offense no longer poses a threat at any position. Knowshon Moreno and Kyle Orton aren't exactly players who strike fear into the eyes of other defenses.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Broncos 13.
The Raiders defense is the story, and their dominance in time of possession is too much for Denver to handle.
Tebow will lead the Broncos in the opening and closing prayer, as well as lead them in smiles during the game.
Week Nine vs Kansas City Chiefs
The New England—wait, wrong city. The Kansas City Patriots are looking more and more like Scott Pioli's old team from New England.
The only thing they are missing is the winning part of the deal. They have added former Patriot coaches, and they should provide the Chiefs with more wins than last year.
They travel to Oakland where they haven't lost in a while. Last year, the Raiders could have come back to win, but I guess you can say they dropped the ball on that one.
The Chiefs and the Raiders should be much improved in 2010, and this game will not be as sloppy as the games in recent years. Both teams will have strong running games, and the defense will be the difference.
The Raiders defense is loaded with speed and talent and will be enough to close the game out for the Raiders.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Chiefs 20
The Chiefs look good at the start of the game, but Dorothy awakens from her dream and realizes that the Chiefs are indeed from Kansas and not New England.
The lack of Tom Brady in the fourth will finally catch up to the Chiefs, and they will lose a close game.
Week 13 at San Diego Chargers
Perhaps the Chargers weren't able to win in Oakland the first game, but the second game in San Diego should have a different feel. I don't see the Chargers "choking" late in this game, unless tequila was involved the night before.
The Chargers are still a playoff-caliber team and will be tough to beat the second time around. The game will be a close one, but the home team will have the last laugh in 2010 with a close victory against the Raiders.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 17
Shawne Merriman will do his lights-out dance during the season, but once again probably won't be doing any kind of dancing during the playoffs.
Chargers still have issues with choking during the playoffs.
Week 15 vs Denver Broncos
Josh McDaniels either has a master plan, or doesn't know what hell he is doing.
While he did get rid of guys like Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, he did bring in on of the most famous virgins since Mary to the Broncos. Tim Tebow, the man known as the Mile High Messiah, will be a hot commodity in Denver.
While Tebow was outstanding in Florida, he won't be able to accomplish much in Denver while McDaniels is there for another season or two. They visit the Raiders in Week 15 with the roles reversed from 2009.
The Raiders will be fighting for a playoff spot in 2010, and the Broncos will be fighting for a first-round pick that they'll probably use on a new coach in 2011.
Lane Kiffin, anyone?
The Raiders should handle their business in Week 15, and will give the Broncos all they can handle and more.
Prediction: Raiders 34, Broncos 13
Tim Tebow leads the Broncos in hottest groupies and leads them in smiles once again, but it is not enough to beat the Raiders in Oakland. After the game, McDaniels surprises everyone by attempting to trade himself back to the Patriots.
Denver fans will be scratching their heads as to how they got scammed by McDaniels, and how they went from having an explosive offense to this mess.
Week 16 at Kansas City
Charlie Weiss and Romeo Crennell have failed as head coaches, but will find success again as assistants in the NFL. The Chiefs will benefit from having these two guys on the sidelines.
While the Chiefs will be more competitive in 2010, they will not be ready to make the playoffs. Their offense will look good if they can get the offensive line fixed, but their defense still needs a bit more work and more time.
The Chiefs will play the Raiders tough at home, and will give the Raiders a tough game. If the Raiders win, they make the playoffs and win the division. If they lose, they have to get help from other teams to get the wild card.
Prediction: Kansas City 23, Raiders 17 in OT
The Raiders do improve in the running game, and have reduced the big play on defense. This time around, a lapse in gap coverage will allow Jamaal Charles to break free and score late in overtime.
The Raiders will have to wait and watch other games to see if they make the playoffs in 2010.
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