AFC West standings, Week 15: Raiders falling out of it

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 10: Running back Marshawn Lynch
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 10: Running back Marshawn Lynch /

The Oakland Raiders were the only team in the AFC West to lose on Sunday in Week 14. How does this impact the divisional standings heading into Week 15?

The Oakland Raiders most certainly did not get it done versus the arch rival Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon. Needing a win on the road at Arrowhead Stadium to be potentially in first place in the AFC West all by themselves, the Raiders struggled in three quarters and fell to the Chiefs, 26-15.

This loss knocks the Raiders back to 6-7 on the year with three games remaining. Though 9-7, and maybe even 8-8 for all we know, could get a team into the AFC playoffs, this most recent loss for the Raiders does not bode well for their waning playoff aspirations this January.

Here are the updated standings in the AFC West through Sunday’s games in Week 14.

AFC West standings through Week 14

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
  3. Oakland Raiders (6-7)
  4. Denver Broncos (4-9)

Through 14 weeks, the Chiefs (7-6) are the division leaders. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) entering Week 15. Both AFC West rivals will play at Arrowhead on yes, Saturday night in primetime this week.

The winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat of the AFC West at 8-6, while the loser will be a game back at 7-7. Should Kansas City get that victory, the Chiefs will have all but locked up the AFC West division. They will have completed the season sweep over the Chargers.

Los Angeles would control its own destiny the rest of the way, but would need to beat the Raiders at home on New Year’s Eve in Week 17 to win the AFC West for the first time since 2009. The Chargers have the longest active playoff drought in the division, having last made the AFC playoffs as a No. 6 seed in the 2013 NFL season.

Oakland is still alive in the AFC West race, but only barely. The Raiders can finish 9-7 if they win out. That could be good enough if the Chiefs and Chargers both go 1-2 in their final three games. Unfortunately, the Raiders only play winning ball clubs the rest of the way.

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They will host the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. Oakland has to make the trek to the City of Brotherly Love to play the NFC East division champion Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) on Christmas Day night in Week 16. Then, the Raiders will have to play the rival Chargers at the StubHub Center in Carson on New Year’s Eve in Week 17 to end the regular season.

Even though the Denver Broncos (4-9) ended their eight-game losing streak by shutting out the New York Jets (5-8) at home on Sunday, Denver has been eliminated from playoff contention in the AFC. The Broncos are one of only three teams that have been officially crossed off in the AFC, along with the putrid Indianapolis Colts (3-10) and the still winless Cleveland Browns (0-13).

Overall, it feels like a two-team race in the AFC West between the Chiefs and the Chargers. The Raiders are still technically in it, but not being able to control their own destiny definitely hurts them. A winning season at 9-7 would be a nice goal for this team to end the year.

Next: 5 takeaways from Raiders' loss to Chiefs in Week 14

However, this feels like a group that will come up short of that benchmark. 9-7 seems too lofty. 8-8 feels a tad out of reach. 7-9 at worst should be expected. Going 0-for in the final quarter to finish 6-10 will cost people jobs. It will be interesting to see how the final three weeks will unfold for the Raiders. The playoff dreams are on life support, but we’ve still got some more football to watch.