The Raiders and the Chiefs have both seen how fates played out. The Raiders, improved from five wins last year to seven this season, were alive for a playoff berth until Kansas City ripped the Titans a new one.
Meanwhile the Chiefs, who finished last year with an outburst, went out and reassembled a coaching staff in similar format to the New England Patriots.
Most pundits will claim Sunday's game between the Raiders and Chiefs is meaningless, as both clubs have their respective futures settled. The Raiders are looking at another offseason without the playoffs, while the Chiefs are in, but it's anyone's guess if that will be a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
But by any stretch of the imagination, this game does give the Raiders something to play for.
First and foremost, it is the chance to finish at .500. The last few seasons, dating back to 2002, very little has gone right in Oakland. Draft pick mistakes, blackouts, even the economy has dulled the league's perspective of the Raiders, leading the team to start putting the pieces to a team into place in 2007.
Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Zach Miller and longer holdovers Asomugha, Robert Gallery and others started assembling a team to function with. Some coaches were brought in with the belief that they would hold the skills to fix this team. Dating back, some coaches were brought in, but quickly fell out of favor for one reason or another: Norv Turner after bringing in Kerry Collins and chasing Jerry Rice out, Art Shell imploded and Kiffin opened his mouth one too many times.
This is now Cable's team, with Hue Jackson getting vocal at times. This is a squad, being led by a veteran in Richard Seymour, rookies Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston and has brought the Raiders to a 7-8 record.
After seven seasons of 11 or more losses, seven wins take care of two streaks the Raiders are glad to be rid of, but more importantly with seven wins, they cannot end this season with double-digit losses.
Both are nice statistics...what's more, it puts the club in position to finish at 8-8, a good mark to go into the next season with.
Likewise, the Raiders could still finish at second place, should the Chargers lose to the Broncos...by both clubs finishing at 8-8, the Raiders would have the tiebreaker. Also with a win Oakland would become the third team to finish 6-0 in their division...considering in the last seven seasons Kansas City, Denver and San Diego loved to play the Raiders.
Kansas City has made it known they plan to play their starters. This should make for a good game, however the coach for the Chiefs should realize something important.
Back in the 1990s the Houston Oilers were moving along nicely in the season. Warren Moon was chasing Dan Marino's record when Moon was injured in a junk game late in the season. Houston went to the playoffs and promptly hit the wall.
Does this fact worry Haley—that if the Raiders beat him once, a second game could spell the Chiefs starting Brodie Croyle for the playoff run?
Good luck to the Raiders...send the team out on a high note, and let the league know, the Raiders are no longer to be taken lightly.