NFL 2011: Predicting Oakland Raiders' Road to the Playoffs vs. AFC West
The Oakland Raiders road to the playoffs will be a tough one in 2011. To get to the playoffs, the Raiders will have to have a winning record against their own division and a winning record against the AFC East and NFC North.
In part one of this two article series, we'll be predicting Oakland's games against their division rivals. Last season, the Raiders were able to go 6-0 in the division.
This season, the Raiders will have to win four games in the division if they want to make the playoffs.
Let's take a look at their games against the AFC West this season and see what needs to happen for Oakland to make the playoffs.
Week 1: Raiders vs Broncos
The Raiders will visit Denver on Monday night to open up their season. The Raiders offense exploded as they stampeded over the Broncos for a 59-14 victory.
Opening night should be a lot closer than that, but the outcome should stay the same. The Broncos will be much better under John Fox, but they won't be ready to beat the Raiders in week one.
Look for Darren McFadden to have a big night under the lights.
Raiders win 27-13.
Week 7: Chiefs vs Raiders
The Oakland Raiders will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. Last time they met in Oakland, the Raiders won in overtime.
Oakland will have to show that it can stop the run against Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs. The keys to success in their last to victories over the Chiefs have been getting to Matt Cassell and getting the most out of the passing game on offense.
If they Raiders can do that in Week 7, they'll come out the winners.
Raiders win 27-24
Week 9: Broncos vs Raiders
The Broncos will visit the Raiders in Week 9. Oakland will be coming off of their bye week and will be ready to play Denver.
Nobody really knows who Denver's QB will be when they come to Oakland in Week 9. It's safe to say that whoever is under center will have plenty to worry about.
The Raiders have one of the best defensive lines in football and should be even better next season. Look for the Raiders to get to the quarterback and create turnovers.
The Raiders will be too much for the Broncos to handle in Week 9.
Raiders win 24-10
Week 10: Raiders vs Chargers
The Raiders will have a short week before they head to San Diego and face the Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
As long as the Chargers have Phillip Rivers, they will always be a tough team to beat. Look for the Chargers offense to be too much for the Raiders to handle in San Diego.
The Chargers will reduce their turnovers and come away with a victory and snap the Raiders winning streak against the AFC West.
Chargers win 27-17.
Week 16: Raiders vs Chiefs
The Raiders will play the Chiefs in Week 16. The Chiefs will have a difficult time finding the same success as they did last season. At this point of the season, I see the Chiefs eliminated from the AFC West title race and still in the Wild Card Race.
The Raiders got the best of them in Oakland, and the Chiefs will be looking for pay back in Week 16. This game should be a close one, and I'll give the Chiefs the advantage on this Sunday. Playing at Arrowhead Stadium has been great the last three years for the Raiders, but this year will be different.
Look for the Chiefs running game to explode and the Chiefs to win this one in overtime.
Chiefs win 23-20
Week 17: Chargers vs Raiders
The Raiders close out the season with the Chargers coming to Oakland. This will be one of the games that gets moved to Sunday night because of the playoff implications.
Both teams should be fighting for the AFC West crown and a playoff spot. The Chargers and the Raiders will head into the last week of the season with similar records.
The Raiders will have to establish the power running game and force their way into the playoffs. After almost a 10-year drought of post season action for the Raiders, 2011 will mark their return.
Raiders win 27-26 on a late TD by Michael Bush.
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