Oakland Raiders: Top 10 Things They Need To Do To Make NFL Playoffs
The Raiders' playoff hopes are not all lost. They still have a chance to make the playoffs
The Raiders have not been mathematically eliminated and hold a perfect 3-0 record against divisional opponents. As it stands right now, if it comes down to a tiebreaker, the Raiders hold the edge.
But in order for the Raiders to make the playoffs, a few things need to fall into place. For starters, they must win the division as the AFC West will not produce a Wild Card team this year.
Here is a look at what needs to happen for the Raiders to make the playoffs.
No. 10: Dump the Dead Weight
Mainly, I'm talking about players who won't see the field for the remainder of the season, such as Bruce Gradkowski and Chaz Schilens.
Gradkowski is injured again and will miss at least three weeks, if not more. His has stated that he isn't done this season and still hopes to play. The reality is his contributions are no longer needed, nor can they help.
Then there is Chaz Schilens. He has been injured all year, eating up valuable roster space.
If the Raiders are serious about competing, they need to place these two players on injured reserve to open up roster space for people like Tonga Manase, who are physically able to contribute to the team.
No. 9 Find a Way To Maintain Drives
Many fans attributed the loss to the Dolphins to the defense giving up 33 points, Walter McFadden's lapses in coverage and the run defense. That couldn't be further from the truth. I was at that game and the defense played its heart out.
The reason we lost was the offense's inability to do anything. Look no further than at the time of possession numbers, and it will show how inept the offense was last week:
Time of Possession: Dolphins 41:38, Raiders 18:22
Teams cannot win when their defense is on the field for three quarters of the game.
Maintaining offensive drives not only gives you more chances to score, but it keeps your defense fresh, tires out the opposing defenses and keeps the ball out of the opposing offense's hands.
No. 8 Force More Turnovers
Currently the Raiders have a minus-three turnover ratio. It's hard to win games when you're losing the turnover battle.
The Raiders have forced and recovered their share of fumbles, but haven't been able to intercept a thing. Currently, the Raiders rank towards the bottom of the league at 31st in total interceptions.
If the Raiders' defensive backs can become ball hawks and pick off a few throws, it will go a long way towards winning more games.
No. 7 Beat the Chargers This Week
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. The Raiders need to win this week.
This week, the Chargers are looking to put a nail in the coffin and finish off the Raiders for the season.
So what are the Raiders going to do about it? Stand by and let it happen, or step up and show the world what they're made of?
I know the Raiders won't be mathematically eliminated if they lose, but mark my words.
If they lose this game, the Raiders can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
No. 6 Get the Running Game Back on Track
Ever since the bye week, the Raiders' touted elite running game has been MIA.
In the last two games, the Raiders' rushing attack has been held to 77 total yards, while Darren McFadden has been held to 18 attempts for 16 yards.
If the Raiders want to win, or even compete against other teams, these numbers need to improve and revert back to where they were before the bye week.
No. 5 Protect the QB
No sugar coating here.
The Raiders' O-line is among the worst in the league when it comes to protecting the QB. A rushed QB often times means mistakes and turnovers.
Despite ranking 25th in the league in terms of passing attempts (with 348), the Raiders have given up the third-most sacks in the NFL with 33. They have also allowed their QB to be hit 49 times.
Because of this, both Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski have faced multiple injuries this season.
Unless we want to see Kyle Boller taking snaps, the pass protection needs to improve greatly.
No. 4 Stop, Or At Least Find a Way To Contain Other Teams' Running Backs
The run defense, like always, is the Achilles heel of the Raiders defense.
Currently, the Raiders rank 28th in run defense and are giving up 133.7 yards per game at 4.4 yards per carry.
In order for the Raiders to have a chance, they need to stop the run and force teams to pass the ball on the Raiders' terms, not their own.
No. 3 Improve Play Execution
Penalities, missed blocks, under-thrown balls, missed tackles and missed field goals cost the Raiders wins.
For some reason this team lacks discipline.
The Raiders' playcalling has not been as bad as many believe. Often times the playcalling is sound, but the QB can't hit his mark, an O-lineman gets over-powered or a receiver just flat out drops the ball.
The coaches are calling the right plays, but they are failing to prepare their players for the game.
No. 2 Sweep the Division
Sounds easy right? The Raiders are 3-0 against divisional opponents and are already halfway there.
Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.
The Raiders face the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, which is no easy feat seeing as the Chargers are 4-1 at home and on a roll.
Then the Broncos come to Oakland to pay the Raiders a visit. This seems like a sure win considering how the Raiders dismantled them in their own house. But wait, the Broncos currently hold a three-game winning streak in Oakland.
And finally, the Raiders travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Week 17 to face the Chiefs. Currently the Chiefs hold a perfect 5-0 record at home.
If the Raiders can win these three games, it almost ensures a spot in the playoffs.
No. 1 Pray Divisional Rivals Get a Few Losses
The Raiders are currently one game behind the second-place Chargers and two games behind the first-place Chiefs.
So even if the Raiders sweep the division barring another loss from the Chiefs, the Raiders will still be one win out of first and missing the playoffs.
In order for the Raiders to win, they not only need to sweep the division, but hope the Chiefs lose one game more than the Raiders do.