NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Focus on the Oakland Raiders

Rob Belote@GuysNationSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Pierre Garcon #85 of the Indianapolis Colts has a pass broken up by Chris Johnson #37 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December  26, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Doing power rankings is tough, but because of the limited number of games on the NFL schedule, it's one of the only ways to get an idea of which teams are better besides just looking at their records.

At my site—www.GuysNation.com—I do a weekly power ranking of all 32 NFL teams. It's a hugely subjective process in which I account for a team's strength of schedule, margin of victory, good wins and bad losses.

Where do the Oakland Raiders currently rank?

I'll admit it—I was starting to buy into the Oakland Raiders. Leading into their bye week, they went on a three-game streak of victories, with two lopsided wins—against the Broncos in Denver and then while hosting the Seahawks. Their Week 9 victory over the Chiefs wasn't by a large margin, but the Chiefs are a good team, and again, it's a division game.

Following the bye week, I wondered what to expect as the Raiders traveled to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. Although the margin of victory was fairly large and Oakland didn't score a touchdown, every team is allowed to slip up here and there.

Then I figured the Raiders would have a good follow-up as they hosted Miami in Week 12, but again they fell far short of victory, though not by a huge margin.

In a very encouraging win, Oakland took down divisional opponent San Diego for the second time this season, bringing them to 4-0 against the AFC West this season, which is very impressive, as teams often lose three games on their schedule in the away games in their division. Two of those road games are already accounted for, making it even more of a résumé shining star.

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At this point, Jacksonville (however improbable it might be) is a playoff-contending team, so a close loss to them on the road isn't a terrible thing for the Raiders, though at that point it became imperative that the Silver and Black would need to win the rest of their games just to have a chance at the postseason.

With Indianapolis making a run to the playoffs, the writing was on the wall that the Raiders weren't likely to win the game, though it was a closely contested outcome.  Now all that's left of the schedule is a game in Week 17 where the Raiders have the opportunity to sweep the AFC West for the season, an improbable achievement, especially traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to play the reenergized Chiefs.

Given all Oakland has accomplished, where do I have them ranked amongst the teams eliminated from playoff contention, including the Chargers - whom the Raiders have beaten twice this season?

For the complete rankings and analysis, check out the article on my website, www.GuysNation.com! Unlike Power Rankings you see elsewhere, your comments could help persuade me to rank your team better after Week 17!

You also will probably enjoy voicing your opinion through voting in nearly a dozen polls set up to help get people's feedback on the Power Rankings!

You also might like the dueling NFL Week 17 picks article on GuysNation.com, a new(ish) feature where the games on a given week's NFL schedule are debated between myself and another author on my site (who just happens to be a LIFELONG PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FAN, so you KNOW he's got a high opinion of his opinion!).

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