Here we are entering the 16th week of the NFL season and the Oakland Raiders are still alive in the race for the AFC West crown and a playoff berth.
At 7-7, the Raiders need the Chargers to lose one of their final two games. The Titans also have to beat the Chiefs on Sunday morning for the Raiders to remain alive.
It feels good that the Raiders are playing for something at this point in the season. The fact that we are still in the hunt for a playoff spot says that these are not the same old Raiders.
But even though we are way better than years past, it is a little bittersweet because we lost a few games this year that we should have won. A missed FG, missed tackle and some poor kickoff coverage cost the Raiders at least three games this year.
If the Raiders had gotten those breaks this year, they would be in control of the division right now with a 10-4 record. In reality, they needed just one of those plays to go their way and they would be in control of the division at 8-6. But, as Tom Cable says, it is what it is and we need some help to get into the playoffs.
If things don't happen to go our way and the Chiefs beat the Titans, eliminating us from the playoffs, the Raiders still have tons to play for. For one, they could knock the Colts out of the post season by beating them on Sunday.
The following week, depending on how things play out, the Raiders could beat the Chiefs and eliminate them from the playoffs if the Chargers win out.
If the Raiders can get to 9-7 but miss the playoffs, I wouldn't be mad at them at all. Going from 5-11 to 9-7 is a huge step towards becoming an elite team. We finally have a QB in Jason Campbell. Had Tom Cable and Hue Jackson just stayed with Campbell all year, we most likely would be in control of the division right now.
Campbell needed time to gel with his new teammates. He is 6-4 as a starter, but he is really 7-4 because although he didn't start, he won that game against the Chargers.
I want the playoffs more than anything. I really hope things go our way and we end up playing the Chiefs for the division in week 17.
If the Raiders can get in the playoffs they would be a team that nobody would really want to play. They can run the ball and get after the QB with the best of them.
I want my Raiders in the playoffs but if they get to 9-7, playoffs or not, I would be satisfied.