Las Vegas Raiders AFC Playoff hopes dimmed during the bye week

The Las Vegas Raiders already slim playoff hopes were dimmed during the bye week thanks to some unlikely victories.

2023 Mountain West Championship - Boise State v UNLV
2023 Mountain West Championship - Boise State v UNLV / Ian Maule/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders went into their bye week sitting at 5-7 on the season, but all was not lost after losing two straight. The Silver and Black still had some hope that they could turn the season around and clinch a playoff spot, but those hopes were dimmed a bit thanks to some unlikely victories within the AFC.

Now, going into a crucial matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, the Raiders will need to not only likely win out, but get even more help down the stretch. Wins by the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and even the Los Angeles Chargers were devastating for the Raiders, and the Houston Texans' victory also hurt.

The Raiders have let many opportunities slip by this season, leading to them being on life-support down the stretch, but it may only take eight or nine wins to clinch a Wild Card spot this year. With their eyes on Minnesota, the time has come for some scoreboard-watching as well, though the team itself should only be focused on the outcome that they have some control over.

Can the Raiders win out down the stretch?

Down the stretch, the Raiders do have some control over their destiny this season, as they play against AFC Playoff hopefuls in the Colts, Chargers, and Denver Broncos. Even with the loss on Monday night, the assumption is that the Kansas City Chiefs will run away with the AFC West and go into the playoffs as the division champs, but the Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos are all still mathematically alive in the playoff race.

First up is the Vikings, who have a bit of a quarterback issue going into this one, but it has been reported that Joshua Dobbs will get the start. Dobbs looked outstanding early on for Minnesota, but he has come back to earth in recent weeks, so the Raiders could catch a break if he is the starter in Week 14.

Having to beat all of their AFC West rivals, as well as the Colts and Vikings is a tall task for the Raiders, but one that is not impossible. Week 13 hurt the team's playoff chances as they sat and tried to enjoy the bye week, but these five weeks will go a long way in answering many questions heading into next offseason.