For the Raiders, the playoffs start this week.
While most of the country will be focused on the Tim Tebow-Tom Brady matchup this week in the 4:00 P.M. time-slot, a game that is essentially an inter-conference playoff game will take place in Oakland.
Building upon a four-game winning streak to end last season, the Detroit Lions started hot in 2011 by opening with a 5-0 record. They had big comebacks against Minnesota and Dallas, and showed the nation they were for real by beating the Bears 24-13 on Monday Night Football.
Since then, they are 3-5 and have gone from a solid contender, to barely hanging onto the NFC's No. 6 seed. Besides beating Denver in Tim Tebow's second start, they have done poorly against playoff contenders. They have lost to San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay and New Orleans.
They have played through injuries to QB Jason Campbell, running back Darren McFadden hasn't played since October, and owner Al Davis passed away October 8. They have lost blowouts on the road the last two weeks, and now Denver leads the AFC West by one game.
With Christmas a week away, there is no greater gift than a win to keep playoff dreams alive.