How the Oakland Raiders Can (Realistically) Make the Playoffs

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Oct 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) and safety Darian Stewart (26) defend against Oakland Raiders running back Rob Helu Jr. at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drop Back to Back Madness

The Raiders’ meteoric rise and run through their schedule will hit a major roadblock week 14 and 15 when the Raiders travel to Denver, then come home to face the Packers.

Denver already beat the Raiders narrowly this year in a game decided by defense and by Sebastian Janikowski’s missed field goals. But that was at home; Denver is a tough out at Mile High, and by Week 14 could be very well competing to earn the #1 seed and home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. While the Broncos’ offensive struggles have made them appear vulnerable this season, they are still VERY good and will likely take the game and secure the AFC West crown.

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  • If either of these games is winnable, it’s this one, though. Peyton Manning tends to play worse late in the year and isn’t particularly good outdoors in cold weather. He’s been off his game already so far this year, and that probably won’t change by Week 14. The Raiders can stop the run and run the ball effectively, a recipe for winning in cold weather late in the year, and Sebastian Janikowski has hit some of his biggest kicks up in Denver.

    If the Raiders can eek out more than 13-14 points, the Denver offense may simply not be able to match, especially if Derek Carr can avoid another costly pick. But Denver has managed to win seven straight despite subpar passing, so don’t get your hopes up too high.

    The Raiders will then head home and face the Green Bay Packers, one of the best teams in the NFC. The Packers are certainly vulnerable defensively and may have a hard time stopping the Raider offense, but the Raiders will have a tough time slowing down Aaron Rodgers as well. Look for an exciting shootout between Carr and Rodgers but ultimately it’s likely the Packers will come away with the win.

    This back to back stretch will remind the Raiders and Raider fans that despite a string of impressive wins, there is much work to be done in order to get to the level of the NFL’s elite teams. The Raiders will emerge at 8-6 but still very much in the wild card hunt.

    Next: Keys to the Wild Card: Split the Late Rematches