The Oakland Raiders kept their playoff dreams alive with a big win on Thursday Night Football in Week 7, but what are the chances they do make the playoffs?
With their backs against the wall, the Oakland Raiders edge their division rival in the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football 31-30 to improve to 3-4 on the season and keep their playoff dreams alive.
Sure, a 3-4 record is nothing to write home about, but it puts the Raiders only two games back of the AFC West leading Chiefs. The Silver and Black do have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Kansas City, for now.
Had the Raiders fallen to 2-5, there was no logical way to convince oneself that they were going to make the AFC playoffs. However, being at 3-4 seven weeks in isn’t the end of the world. Is Oakland still alive in the playoff mix? Absolutely, but to what degree?
Let’s take a look at the remaining schedule and see what are the chances Oakland does get into the AFC playoffs.
Oakland Raiders, remaining 2017 NFL schedule
- Oct. 29 at Buffalo Bills
- Nov. 5 at Miami Dolphins (Sunday Night Football)
- Nov. 19 vs. New England Patriots (in Mexico City)
- Nov. 26 vs. Denver Broncos
- Dec. 3 vs. New York Giants
- Dec. 10 at Kansas City Chiefs
- Dec. 17 at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
- Christmas, Dec. 25 at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night Football)
- New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31 at Los Angeles Chargers
Oakland has a mini bye this week to get healthy before a tough road game against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 29. Weather could be an issue in that game, but it is early enough in the day, and in the year, for that maybe not to matter. Getting to 4-4 with a win over the Bills won’t be easy, but is possible.
Depending on the effort we see out of the Miami Dolphins the next two weeks, it could be a huge game on Nov. 5 in Miami Gardens. The Dolphins only have two losses on the year and will be hosting the Raiders on Sunday Night Football. This one could go either way, but the Raiders have the higher ceiling of those two AFC teams.
Oakland is fortunate to have a Week 10 bye before a neutral site game in Mexico City versus the New England Patriots. New England could figure some things out by then, but this Patriots team remains in flux after winning Super Bowl 51. Though technically a home, this feels like a loss for the Raiders, although a win in Estadio Azteca isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Depending on how the quarterback situation shakes out, the Denver Broncos have to come to The Black Hole in Week 12 in a revenge game for the Raiders. Oakland absolutely has to win this game to stay alive in the division race. Keep in mind Oakland only lost to the Broncos on the road in Week 4 by six points with EJ Manuel playing much of the second half.
Week 13 versus the New York Giants at home is a gotta have it game for the Raiders. There are zero excuses for the Silver and Black to not come out of that Dec. 3 matchup with a victory. Week 14 at Kansas City doesn’t look promising. Oakland may have beaten the Chiefs in Week 7, but that was at home. Hard to see a win here, but you never know.
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If the Dallas Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott at running back, the Raiders might struggle to contain him in Week 15 on Sunday Night Football. Frankly, neither of these teams are as good as last year. Right now, this is a winnable game for the Raiders.
Week 16 at Philadelphia on Christmas night doesn’t look promising. That might be the best team in the NFC and the Raiders will be in a huge spot on Monday Night Football that week. With the way the Eagles play in the trenches, that feels like a loss.
Finally, the Raiders get their first taste of the StubHub Center, as they will play the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson to close out the season on New Year’s Eve. It’s a revenge game for the Raiders that they must have.
So at 3-4, the Raiders will need to go 6-3 the rest of the way to get to 9-7 on the year and be in contention for an AFC Wild Card spot. Getting to six wins is possible, but not overly likely. The margin for error is razor-thin with the Patriots, Chiefs and Eagles still left on the schedule. Simply put, the Raiders have to take it one week at a time.