Oakland Raiders: Playoff Hopes Falling, Franchise Heading in Right Direction

Elias Trejo@@Elias_TrejoSenior Analyst IIDecember 13, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders breaks the tackle of Sean Considine #37 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, making their playoff hopes very slim.

The Raiders are now 6-7 and need to win their final three games and get some help from the Chargers and Chiefs to win the AFC West.

While it is still possible, it doesn't seem very likely.

Although, Raider Nation should be proud of this Raiders team.

A wise man (Terrell White) told me before the season, that this would be the Raiders' "Jump Off" year: The year where they become more competitive and set themselves up for success next season.

Oakland has accomplished many things this season that fans haven't seen in quite sometime.

Streaks have ended and some have begun, but more importantly the Raiders have mattered towards the end of the season for the first time since 2002.

Teams that go seven years straight of losing 11 games or more don't just magically walk into the playoffs to end that streak. 

The Raiders as a franchise are heading in the right direction. This team is loaded with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. 

There are key players on the roster who weren't even alive when the Raiders won their last Super Bowl. 

Jason Campbell looks as if he is growing into his role as a starter, and Darren McFadden looks like a superstar. Michael Bush, Louis Murphy and Zach Miller are also solid contributors to the offense.

The defense gives up big plays, but will get better, as they have a lot of youth in Rolando McClain, Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell and company.

The Raiders' defense is also filled with savvy veterans, and their special teams are solid in the kicking and return game, with Sebastian Janikowski, Shane Lechler and Jacoby Ford providing a solid unit.

This is a team that doesn't need to change much in the off season. They look promising on all three phases of the game.

The Raiders must keep the same offensive system.

Their defense needs tweaking, but they are getting better. Oakland's pass rush has been solid, but they still struggle against the run.

One change that needs to be made in the off season is Tom Cable being let go, and Hue Jackson given the keys to the team.

This is the last year of Cable's contract, and nothing has really been said about whether he'll come back or not.

The Raiders wouldn't have many teams interested in taking Cable as their next head coach, so there isn't a lot of pressure on them to get something done right away.

Meanwhile, Jackson's name is a hot one when it comes to head coaching jobs. He has already been named as a Denver Broncos candidate.

Some believe Jackson came to Oakland because he knew there was a chance for him to take over as the head coach.

Making him head coach would be a great move. He has a great influence over the players and it wouldn't be a drastic change for the team.

Cable may have changed the attitude of the Raiders, but hasn't changed too much after that.

The QB musical chairs, the lack of discipline, and the offensive line play has hurt the Raiders this year, which all goes back to the head coach.

Cable would have to make the playoffs and win a game or two to keep his job—and even that may not save him.

It's been said many times that Al Davis hasn't been to happy with the handling of the quarterback situation. 

It doesn't look as if the Raiders will be in the playoffs this season, but this franchise looks like it's ready to start making playoff appearances soon.

The Oakland Raiders are heading in the right direction and the Raider Nation has plenty to be excited about.

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