The Oakland Raiders have been very impressive this season, and have two winnable games coming up, but they must take it one game at a time.
The Oakland Raiders will head into their Week 11 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals sitting at 5-4, and with a real shot to overtake the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. Oakland has already made themselves part of the conversation for an AFC Wild Card spot, especially with how the cards fell this past weekend.
Not only did the Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night to move their record over .500, but they also got a ton of help on Sunday. The Tennessee Titans beat those Chiefs thanks to a blocked field goal late in the game, moving the Raiders to within a half-game of Kansas City for the division lead.
In Wild Card action, the Buffalo Bills were handed a loss by the Cleveland Browns, and the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Miami Dolphins, moving the Raiders up to the No. 6 seed in the AFC for a short time on Sunday. However, they fell back to No. 7 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams inside Heinz Field.
Still, it was an incredible week for the Raiders, who now control their own destiny this season, but they cannot get too far ahead of themselves. The next two games are, dare I say, easy victories, but like we saw on Sunday, anything can happen in today's NFL.
In Week 11, the Raiders will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals, who have still yet to win their first game of the season. In addition, they have moved on from Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton, replacing him with rookie Ryan Finley, who looked absolutely lost in his first start against the Baltimore Ravens last week.
Following the Bengals game, the Raiders will head East to take on the New York Jets, who lost to the Miami Dolphins a few weeks back. The Jets are one of the worst teams in football, and even though going to the East coast is never easy, the Raiders should be heavy favorites in that game.
That would put the Raiders at 7-4 going into their matchup on the road in Kansas City, but it is imperative that this team take it one game at a time. Luckily for this organization, their quarterback is Derek Carr, and he is not going to let any kind of trap game happen to him and this Raiders team this year.
After the Raiders win against the Chargers, Carr stated how some of the young guys were starting to look ahead, and he told them to flat out stop that talk. He knows how hard it is to get to the playoffs, as the Raiders have been only once in his career, and he could not even play in the game due to a broken ankle.
For Carr, this has been an incredible season, one where he has silenced his doubters, and fully grasped Jon Gruden's offense. There is no way he is going to let this golden opportunity slip away, as he would love nothing more than to give the Oakland fans at least one more playoff game before the team moves to Sin City.
Carr is an incredible leader, and he knows that anything can happen on any Sunday. Just ask the Colts and Chiefs today.
For the first time in a few years, the Raiders are actually a part of the conversation in the AFC, but they need to take it one game at a time. They have the right leader under center to make a serious run, and it will be up to him to keep this team level, as they prepare for a huge matchup with the Chiefs in a few weeks.