For two years running the Oakland Raiders have been the best team in the AFC West. Yet they still have nothing to show for it. A perfect walk through the division couldn’t even earn the Silver and Black a playoff birth last year. This year it would appear as if the only way to get into the postseason will be to win the division.
The AFC West is a mess. Let’s just be honest.
That the Denver Broncos are suddenly in the mix says it all about this division. That is why the Raiders can’t get caught up in celebrating their victory in San Diego last Thursday.
Yes, it was a big win. Yes, the Raiders dug deep, overcame injury and stepped up in a must-win contest.
All that being said the San Diego Chargers are a tragically flawed football team. Same goes for the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. The latter two teams have both handed the Raiders losses at home in case you’ve forgotten.
To be sure no team in the division has the balance on offense, more weapons in special teams and the playmakers on defense that the Raiders do. Oakland most definitely has its flaws but they are far and away the class of the division.
This is exactly why some of these late losses and inconsistent efforts are so troubling. Oakland is once again in the driver’s seat – as they were last year – yet is flirting with disaster once again.
Hue Jackson’s Raiders are road warriors. However they’re not taking care of business at home as they should.
Hue Jackson’s team gets up for the big games. Yet when the Denver Tebows come to town they rollover.
We’ve known all along that the Raiders are their own worst enemy. Untimely mistakes, careless turnovers and pointless penalties have contributes to making the AFC West a wide open race. Had the Raiders handled business in the second half of those hideous losses to Buffalo and Denver, we wouldn’t even be talking about the Wild West. We’d be talking about the Raiders and everybody else in the division.
Instead here we sit, with a team that threw the ball just 8 times in a win being right there in the divisional race.
The good news is that there is nothing but space and opportunity for Oakland to prove their worth. Every game this season suddenly becomes more important than the last. Every contest is a chance to enhance a playoff resume. From here out the Raiders must take the approach of being on the outside looking in. They might be driving the AFC West but another unnecessary pit stop could allow the Raiders to once again be the best team in the division watching the playoffs from home.