2010 NFL: No, I'm Not Crazy, Raiders and 49ers Still Alive In Their Divisions

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IDecember 13, 2010

Darren McFadden
Darren McFaddenSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Perhaps this is just the wishful thinking of a fan, but even after the Oakland Raiders squandered a late lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars and lost 38-31, the Raiders are still alive to win the AFC West.

That may be wishful thinking or just the reality that the AFC West is a tight division between three teams that aren't great.

The Kansas City Chiefs also lost today to the San Diego Chargers, 31-0.  If the Chiefs lose to the St. Louis Rams or Tennessee Titans, then the Raiders will be in position to even the records in the final week, when the Raiders face off at Kansas City.

Yes, the Raiders have been putrid on the road this season.  Except within the AFC West, in which the Raiders went on the road and destroyed the Broncos 59-14 and the Chargers, 28-14.

In order to win the division however, the Raiders will also need the San Diego Chargers to lose once because the Raiders own the tiebreaker against San Diego. 

San Diego's schedule looks soft in the final three weeks, but play on the road in the final two weeks—at Cincinnati and at Denver.  The cold weather in both cities could play a factor in whether the Bengals or Broncos can upset the Chargers.

Next week however, the Chargers face the San Francisco 49ers, a team that is 5-8. 

Yet, like the Raiders, the Niners also have a shot to win their division, if Seattle and St. Louis each lose once more. Seattle still must face Atlanta, Tampa Bay and St. Louis.  Sorry, Seahawks fans, there's at least one loss in that hand.

The 49ers will face the Rams however.  The Niners defeated the Rams earlier this season, and so another defeat would mean that the Niners would own the tiebreaker.

I realize that this hypothetical situation relies on what is known as a, "clusterf*ck." 

In that, the Rams and Niners both have postseason aspirations right now, and it is to the advantage of the Raiders that both teams continue to pursue those aspirations, even though only one of those teams can prevail in the end.

Before the 2009 season, I had a dream.  In that dream, the Raiders squeaked into the playoffs.  I hope that the dream simply came a year early.  After all, I have been ahead of the time in many things that I have said.

Like the Raiders, the Niners have also fared well inside the division.  That might not bode well for that team's chances in the playoffs, but it can put the team in the playoffs. 

And hey, once you're in, anything is possible.

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