After two straight blowout losses to the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, everybody was ready to count out the Oakland Raiders‘ playoff dreams. Two more losses against the Tennesee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars all but crushed any chances of the team making the playoffs.
The Raiders entered Sunday in a must-win situation against the Los Angeles Chargers and pulled off the win. Some other things worked in the team’s favor and now their right back in the playoff race. Now, they’ll be heading into another must-win game against a division rival and they’ll need some luck.
AFC Playoff Standings
*Note: Updated after Sunday’s games, prior to the night game.
|1. Baltimore Ravens||13||2||0|
|2. New England Patriots||12||3||0|
|3. Kansas City Chiefs||10||4||0|
|4. Houston Texans||10||5||0|
|5. Buffalo Bills||10||5||0|
|6. Tennessee Titans||8||7||0|
|7. Pittsburgh Steelers||8||7||0|
|8. Oakland Raiders||7||8||0|
Oakland had everything work in their favor on Sunday. Not only did they get back in the win column, everything that needed to happen happened. The Titans lost, the Steelers lost, the Cleveland Browns lost and the Indianapolis Colts won. The top five seeds in the AFC have all clinched playoff spots.
The Raiders are going to need some luck for all the tiebreakers to works in their favor. For reference, here are how tiebreakers work in the NFL, per of NFL.com.
Head-to-head, if applicable.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in conference games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
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Raiders Need a Miracle
It might seem like a pipe dream for the Raiders to get into the playoffs. However, it’s not as improbable as you might think. First, Oakland needs to beat the Denver Broncos in Week 17. There’s no way they can get in without that win. They’ve already beaten Denver once this season and while the Broncos have improved since then, it’s a game that the Raiders should win.
The next thing the Raiders need is a Steelers loss. As luck would have it, Pittsburgh is playing the AFC’s best team, the Baltimore Ravens. They barely beat the Steelers in their first matchup, but it’s hard to imagine that any team can beat the Ravens right now. Things don’t stop there as the Raiders also need the Titans to lose to the Houston Texans.
Tennesse recently just lost to Houston in Week 15 and the next matchup will be at the Texans’ home. The Titans have gone cold after going on a crazy run. The Texans aren’t unbeatable, so that matchup is probably the one that should keep the Raiders the most uneasier.
If the Titans and Steelers lose, Oakland then needs the Colts to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are in the midst of a really bad season and just fired Tom Coughlin. It’s a game that the Colts should win with ease. The Raiders’ playoff hopes are very much alive and all they need is for all the teams that should win to win. Playoffstatus.com gives Oakland a 15% chance to make the playoffs. That’s a lot better than anyone was expecting after the team’s recent slide.