Raiders vs. Chiefs: What's on the Line for Oakland in Week 16?
The Oakland Raiders are now heading to Kansas City for a huge game against the division rival Chiefs. Last week, the Raiders lost a big game with a lot on the line to the Detroit Lions, taking air out of Raider Nation's sails.
This week, believe it or not, there is still plenty on the line for the Raiders out in Kansas City.
Turn the page to see what.
The AFC West
Despite the heart-breaking loss the Detroit Lions, it is still possible for the Raiders to win the AFC West. The Denver Broncos lost last week as well so that leaves the Raiders one game back with two left.
The Raiders need to win their next two games and the Broncos to lose the season finale to the Kansas City Chiefs. Obviously, the Raiders have to win their next game in order to win their next two games.
Tomorrow is a huge game because it keeps the division title dream alive even if the Broncos win this week.
If the Raiders win out, it is still possible for the Raiders to go to the playoffs as a wild card too. The Raiders then need the Jets to lose only one game because they own the tie-breaker by beating the Jets this season.
I believe the Cincinnati Bengals will loose the season finale to the Baltimore Ravens, who will be playing for a first round bye. The Raiders will then need the Tennessee Titans to lose one of their next two, as they are tied with the Raiders in every way including conference record right now.
This is exhausting, but there is still hope for the Raiders to make the playoffs as a non-division winner.
Darrius Heyward-Bey Shedding Bust Label
This is year three for Darrius Heyward-Bey—the year he is considered to be a bust or not a bust. I don't see him as a go-to guy in the clutch yet, but he has vastly improved and has a chance to avoid bust status.
Right now, he has 51 catches for 775 yards, needing only 225 yards over the next two games to reach 1,000. If he can reach the 1,000-yard mark, there will be no doubt that Heyward-Bey will not be considered a bust.
A big game tomorrow would go a long way, leaving room for a so-so game to put him over the top in the season finale. He had 155 yards last week and a duplication of that tomorrow would have him in good shape.
If Heyward-Bey get's his 1,000 yards, it will give him enough confidence to become a clutch receiver.
I hope it happens because the kid deserves it.
Michael Bush 1,000-Yard Season
Michael Bush now has 841 yards for the season, needing just 159 more to reach the 1,000-yard mark. This is significant because McFadden will be back next year and Bush is likely to want to go somewhere and start.
A 1,000-yard season proves that he can handle the load in the running game for his team. I'm hoping the Raiders can pay him enough money to stay in Oakland because he and McFadden are a great tandem.
But, they could at least franchise him and trade him.
I've seen enough players leave, with the Raiders getting nothing in return.
Winning Season for Rookie Head Coach
First-year head coach Hue Jackson can still finish his rookie season with a winning record. I have to say he's done an outstanding job when considering all the injuries to key players that he's had to endure, and with a much tougher schedule than last season.
Many, including myself, have criticized Jackson for this and that, but it's time to give him his props now. If you would have told me before the season that McFadden and Jason Campbell would miss most of the season and the Raiders would still have a winning record, I would have told you, "There are places you can go for that."
But Jackson actually has a chance to be the first head coach since Jon "Chucky" Gruden to take the Raiders to the playoffs.
I can't find words to tell you just how big tomorrow's game is for the team and individuals on it. As a team, the Raiders can possibly end the drought and go to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Even without the playoffs, they finish the season with a winning record for the first time since that same year. He won't get a Coach of the Year award for it, but it will go a long way toward Jackson being a fixture in Oakland.
Winning two in a row will make all of the above possible.
Bush and Heyward-Bey have opportunities for individual milestones in this two-game stretch as well. Reaching those milestones would really put the Raiders in position to win the two games.
So here's to Bush and Heyward-Bey killing two birds with one stone.
Just win baby!