Call me optimistic, delusional, crazy, or whatever, but this Raiders squad has got me believing in what they are producing. Just over two months after the Raiders were picked by all the so called “experts” to be the worst team in the NFL and had a chance to join that terrible Lions team of a few years ago and go 0-16, they have the NFL on it’s head being just one game out of a wild card birth.
Currently the Raiders are fighting with the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets for the last wild card spot since it is assumed that either Broncos or Chiefs will take the first wild card spot. Let us take a little peak at each team and why Oakland has the chance to beat them out for that last spot.
San Diego Chargers: Philip Rivers and his Chargers team have been getting a lot of hype lately because Rivers is playing at such a high level. But don’t let Rivers’ play overshadow the play of the team as a whole. They still don’t have any established receivers and their defense is ranked in the bottom half of the league. They have a supremely hard schedule coming up as well, because they have yet the play the Chiefs or Broncos yet. Their opponents so far have a combined record of 16-24 while their upcoming opponents have a record of 47-24…talk about a difference.
Baltimore Ravens: What ever happened to Ray Rice being one of the best backs in the NFL? He currently has 242 yards on the season and going into tough games against the Bears, Bengals twice, Detroit and New England, that just isn’t going to be enough to keep up with those high octane offense and keep them off the field. Also they have the super bowl curse going on with them too…
Tennessee Titans- You look at this Titans team and you can’t help but say “What happened????”. After averaging just under 25 points per game their first four games- and going 3-1 -they have lost their last three while averaging around 14 points per game. BUT WAIT, they beat a bad Steelers team, lost to a bad Houston team, and beat two very overrated teams in the Chargers and the Jets (get to that later). Ranking in both the bottom half of the league in passing and rushing, playing the Colts twice, the Broncos, the Raiders and Cardinals in their next seven games seem like a stretch they are not gonna come out of alive.
Miami Dolphins- This team scares me the most, just because you don’t know if you’re gonna get the team that started 3-0, or the team that went on a four game skid including losses to Buffalo and Baltimore. Give them credit though, they did just just go out and beat a Bengals team that NFL experts consider to be the most talented team in the AFC. Watch out, this is our biggest rival, especially with an easy schedule coming up, with two game against the Jets that can be trouble no matter who wins. Let’s hope they split those games.
New York Jets- Oh the Jets. They get my vote for most overrated team in football right now. Congrats, you beat the Falcons, Bills, Buccaneers and a struggling Patriots team. Then you lose to a struggling Patriots team, a bad Steelers teams, and get blown out by Cincinnati and Tennessee…can you tell how much I doubt this team. I don’t believe in Geno Smith this early in his career either.
Now let’s look at the Raiders’ schedule for the rest of the reason. They don’t face a team with a winning record until week 15 when they round off the season with and AFC west duel against each team. I believe that that heading into the Kansas City game, we’ll be 8-5 with the only loss coming to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving (but hey, its a big game in November against Tony Romo, don’t count the Raiders out just yet). If we can beat the Chargers again and maybe get a win against KC, we could end up with 9-10 wins, shocking the NFL and getting our first winning record, and playoff birth, since the super bowl year in 2002.