How the Oakland Raiders Can (Realistically) Make the Playoffs

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Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) scores on an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sweep The Soft Middle

After facing the Vikings, the Raiders catch a big break: two straight road games, sure, but against the Lions and Titans, teams in the midst of epic collapses. The Raiders then come home to face the struggling Kansas City Chiefs.

The Lions are in massive decline, again, with Calvin Johnson clearly past his prime and no other offensive weapons to speak of. The Lions also have the worst ranked defense in the NFL, and just this past Sunday surrendered 45 points to a mediocre Chiefs offense. The Lions are an awful team, a toxic combination of a turnover-prone quarterback, a bad offensive line, an inept running game and of course that lousy defense. This should be a cakewalk for the Raiders, even on the road. 

The Titans just fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt following their 6th straight loss. While a solid defensive team (5th in the league), the Titans are an abysmal 31st on offense. They don’t have the firepower to keep pace with the Raiders, especially if rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota doesn’t return to the lineup. But even with Mariota under center, the issues with this team are deep and its possible they may have completely thrown in the towel mentally by the time the Raiders come to town.

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  • The Chiefs are struggling this year, dealing with an injury to Jamaal Charles and another year of uninspired quarterbacking from Alex Smith. Despite hanging 45 points on Detroit last week, this is not a team that looks to get much better before they come into the Black Hole for their first matchup of the season against the Raiders.

    What the Chiefs are able to do offensively – run the ball – plays right into the strength of the Raiders, who are one of the league’s best run defenses. Meanwhile the Chiefs’ talented defense doesn’t have the guys to slow down Derek Carr and company: they’ve already given up 16 passing touchdowns through eight games.

    Still, this AFC West hate-match is always unpredictable, as was evidenced when the Raiders shocked the Chiefs last year after losing ten straight going into the game. But a hungry, talented Raiders team in the thick of the playoff hunt should be able to get the W in this divisional matchup.

    Barring major injury, there’s no reason to believe the Raiders can’t sweep this portion of their upcoming schedule. Look for the Raiders to come out of this stretch at 8-4 with the playoff hype at a fever pitch. 

    Next: Keys to the Wild Card: Survive Broncos, Packers Stretch