Going on the road in Week 11, the Las Vegas Raiders knew they had a tall task ahead of them against the Miami Dolphins. The Silver and Black went into that game as nearly two-touchdown underdogs, but from the beginning, it was clear that they were not going to be pushed around in South Beach.
Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we have seen the Raiders defense take big steps forward, but none bigger than what went on inside Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. The Raiders were able to keep the Dolphins high-octane offense in check for most of the game, though the Raiders offense was not able to capitalize on the Miami mistakes.
In the end, the Raiders lost the game 20-13, but there were many positives to come out of it, especially on defense. In Week 12, a hated rival comes to town in the Kansas City Chiefs, but like they nearly did last weekend, the Raiders have a good chance to shock the NFL landscape and come away with a victory despite being big underdogs in the game.
Raiders can get back into the AFC Playoff picture with a win Sunday
Surprisingly, the AFC has been wide open this season, as favorites like the Buffalo Bills, Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals have all had their issues. Joe Burrow is done for the season in Cincinnati, Buffalo has looked beatable nearly every week, and the Chiefs offense is struggling to score points for the first time in a long time.
Baltimore has started to run away with the AFC North, and should challenge the Chiefs for the No. 1 seed, but overall, there is a lot of room for the Raiders to rise in the AFC Playoff picture. With a win on Sunday, the Chiefs would actually fall to 7-4 on the season, and with a win, the Raiders would be nipping at their heels with a record of 6-6.
Then you look at those not winning their division currently, and it appears that nine wins may actually be enough to get into the AFC Playoffs this season. Of course, the Raiders will have to take care of business after the bye week, but first things first, and that is a Chiefs team coming to Las Vegas on a short week after losing to Philadelphia on Monday night.
Despite was the oddsmakers say, this is a winnable game, and will put the Raiders season back on track if they can pull off the upset.