Sizing Up Oakland’s Chances to Win AFC West

Let’s be honest. If the Oakland Raiders want to be playing in the postseason then their only chance will be to win the AFC West.

So, just how do the Raiders fare in their quest? Let’s look at the schedule.

First things first. This team has to handle its business. That is much easier said than done when you look at the road ahead. This Sunday’s swing through Jacksonville is a straight up elimination game. Make no mistake; this is March Madness for the Silver and Black. They have to win to stay alive.

The Jaguars are in the same ship as the Raiders. They’re currently sitting in the driver’s seat in first place but could fall out of the playoff picture all together if they lose their grip on the division. While Oakland is no longer looking down on their AFC West rivals, they’re still a perfect 4-0 and would own any divisional tie breaker should it come down to that.

Which brings us to the team that occupies the top spot in the West – the Kansas City Chiefs.

Todd Haley gets a lot of respect for what he’s done in a short period of time. People tend to forget that it was the Chiefs – not the Raiders – that have been propping up the West the last few years. These Chiefs are hungry and humble, a reflection of their fiery coach.

From here out the Chiefs are in control. This Sunday they’ll travel to San Diego where the dejected Chargers await. A win in SoCal would have the Chiefs sitting pretty for the remainder of the season. With a stop in St. Louis and then a home date against Tennessee, the road to the postseason isn’t smooth but it’s certainly manageable for KC.

As for those underachieving Chargers, well, their hopes could come crashing down this weekend if they don’t defend Jack Murphy…err…whatever Comm Stadium. A loss to the Chiefs would all but end San Diego’s hopes and could close to the door on the Norv Turner error.

Beyond Sunday’s elimination clash, the Dolts have one more home date against the 49ers before taking to the road to face Cincinnati and Denver to close the season.

This is one Sunday in which Raider Nation could find itself actually rooting for the Chargers. Believe it or not, the Raiders’ playoff hopes could rest squarely on the Chargers and how they fare against the Chiefs.

Oakland’s schedule isn’t nearly as inviting as their divisional foes. After Jacksonville the Raiders host the Broncos and the Colts. After destroying the Donkeys earlier in the season, the Raiders must keep the same intensity going into the rematch. Beyond Denver comes Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts who are also battling for their playoff lives and will be as focused as ever.

Now, if the Chiefs can find a way to lose at least two of their next four and the Raiders can remain perfect, it would set the stage for a Raiders-Chiefs clash of epic proportions. Both teams square off on the final day of the season in Arrowhead with the potential for AFC West supremacy on the line.

The odds are long but this is not impossible. Yes, the Raiders will need help along the way. But they’ve got their destiny in their own hands. Stay perfect in the division and lose no more than once the rest of the year, they’ll have a chance. Again, it’s a slim chance but it beats planning for the draft this time of year.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders Peyton Manning San Diego Chargers Todd Haley

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  • Raiderjoe

    It will be weird rooting for the Chargers this Sunday.But the Chargers may in all probability hand KC the loss the Raiders need.In my opinion There is a strong possibility that KC loses this game. SD still has talent for one, as much as I hate them. But, now with Matt Cassel having just had an appendectomy the other day,I think SD definitely gets the edge in that game for sure. Haley and the Chiefs can list Cassel as questionable all they want, but there is just no way the guy plays this Sunday.Its too soon after fairly serious abdominal surgery. That’s just reality.So, I cannot imagine the coaching staff will allow the guy to play this week, that would be careless. And without Cassel,the Chiefs lose most likely.

  • Philip F

    Matt Cassel went under the knife and had emergency surgery, no way he plays against San Diego and he might not play against the Rams the following week.

  • raidernoah

    Actually, all we need is for the chiefs to lose one game and we can win out the rest, we will be in the playoffs due to our tiebreaker edge against the chiefs. So, lets hope the chargers beat them and we win out! Go Raiders!

  • Chris Shellcroft

    Great points, guys!

    I wrote this before Cassel went under the knife and I agree there is no way he plays this weekend. That will really change things and puts even more pressure on the Raiders to take care of business.

    Maybe this is our year to finally retake the AFC West. The critics can say whatever they want about the West being weak but I could care less if we’re watching the Silver and Black in January!

  • New Mexico Raider

    Wow it’s been 7 long years since the Nation has had something to look forward to in December. Looks like all the cards are falling in the right place for the team. Cassel out for a couple of weeks sounds good to me. The Raiders just have to go in and handle their business.

    Go Raiders!!!!

  • daChiefs

    “fairly serious stomach surgery”? From what I read he had 3 TINY incisions put in his stomach, and the only thing keeping him from playing is pain, not his stomach bursting ALIEN style from the almost nonexistent Charger pass rush.

    And if Brodie gets the start how much will that REALLY change the game? I can almost guarantee the bolts and the rest of the teams are going to get a HEALTHY dose of Charles and Jones, the great Kansas City performing duo, the passing game is just icing on the cake. Whatever QB shows up, look for on the ground, grind it out football this weekend, and next weekend, and the next… nothings changed except the name on the jersey. We are like the Hydra yo!

    Chiefs 20, Chargers 17, and that’s being nice.

  • OnTheBorder

    Actually the Raiders only have to gain one game before they meet the Chiefs on Jan. 2. Then beating the Chiefs will result in a division tie with the Raiders holding the tie-breaker. Oh and I hope Cassell does play this weekend. If he damages that incision during the game he’ll be out for the season.

  • cwoodsraider21

    The Chargers will have a field day if Brodie Croyle starts haha! If Cassel is gone for more than 1 game then the Raiders better get in. If Cassel is healthy, Raiders have to work some magic play consistently with these flashes of brilliance we have all seen. But really, either way it does beat planning for the draft, I love being in the hunt!! Can’t wait for round 2 of the donkey bashing…