Raiders' Rooting Guide for 2022 NFL Draft Implications of Week 15
The Las Vegas Raiders are probably better off losing to the New England Patriots on Sunday to further improve their draft stock.
The Raiders are technically still alive in the AFC wild-card picture, but they have three teams between them and the Patriots in seventh.
Las Vegas comes into the weekend with the No. 8 overall pick in the projected NFL draft order.
Securing a top-10 pick over the next four games seems like a more realistic possibility than jumping the Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoff hunt.
If all goes well in Week 15, the Raiders could leave the weekend with an even better projected draft pick.
There are four teams with four wins, and three of them could make cases to take victories from their matchups to help the Raiders' positioning.
Colts over Vikings
An Indianapolis Colts win in Minnesota is the most unlikely result that the Raiders need.
The Colts are 4-8-1, so a win combined with a Raiders loss would automatically put them below Las Vegas in the draft order.
Indianapolis has one win in its last seven games, so it may be hard to convince Raiders fans that this is a team worth rooting for.
The Colts only have one guaranteed win left on their schedule in Week 18 against the Houston Texans.
Las Vegas needs Indianapolis to win at least one more game to vault it in the draft order.
Minnesota's defense has been susceptible to high concessions. The Colts could realistically ride Jonathan Taylor and an average Matt Ryan to a win.
That would allow the Raiders to move up a spot in the draft order with a Sunday loss to the Patriots.
Saints over Falcons
The New Orleans Saints are one of two four-win teams that will give up their first-round pick in April.
New Orleans has every incentive to win its next four games because its draft pick transfers to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints will be expected to win on Sunday since they face Desmond Ridder in his first start for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints defense could thrive against the first-year signal-caller in a rivalry game. A New Orleans win would affect Atlanta's bleak chance to win the NFC South as well.
New Orleans is the more likely team between it and the Los Angeles Rams to win in Week 15. The Rams are the other four-win team that will ship their draft pick. The Detroit Lions own that selection.
Both teams will be playing harder to win than other squads with losing records, but it is easier to root for New Orleans at home against a rookie quarterback than Baker Mayfield at Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Cardinals over Broncos
The Raiders get to root against a divisional rival to help improve their draft stock.
The Arizona Cardinals sit two spots ahead of the Raiders in the projected draft order ahead of their trip to face the Denver Broncos.
Arizona is on a short week after playing the Patriots on Monday night. It will have Colt McCoy at quarterback in place of the injured Kyler Murray.
The circumstances surrounding the Cardinals are not great, but this is the NFL after all, where weird results happen regularly.
A Cardinals win should not be expected, but it should be cheered on so that the Raiders could leap over more teams in front of them.