The 2023 Las Vegas Raiders have been through a roller coaster of a season and we have yet to hit the bye week. After firing Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and Mick Lombardi following the loss to the Detroit Lions, things have pointed up, however, with Antonio Pierce assuming the role of interim head coach.
Much like the 2021 season, where Rich Bisaccia stepped in and led the franchise to their first playoff appearance since 2016, Pierce has had a stunning effect on the team. The players are rallying around him, and after three games in the position, the Raiders are starting to look more like a playoff team, than a pushover.
Back-to-back wins vaulted the Raiders back to .500, but after the loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, their season is back on the brink. Luckily for the Raiders, the AFC is wide open this season, so nine wins could be enough to make the playoffs, though a long road before that happens starts Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Returning home after the trip to South Beach, Pierce and the Raiders have a golden opportunity in front of them, and it could earn the former linebacker the job full-time.
Raiders win vs Chiefs could land permanent HC role for Pierce
The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs only three times in the last 20 attempts, and have not beaten the Chiefs in front of the home fans since the legendary Thursday Night Football victory back in 2017. That is a very long time to lose in front of your home fans against a hated rival, as well as with your team owner watching from the box.
For Pierce to win on Sunday, it is going to take a massive team effort, and it won't be lost on the owner, or the fan base. The Raiders will move to 6-6 with a victory, going into the bye week on a high note, with some very winnable games still there down the stretch.
Pierce has already won the fan base, and the locker room, so now he has to win the full-time job. He has done everything the right way since taking over, but beating Kansas City this Sunday would be a signature victory for a guy trying to latch on as the full-time head coach in Las Vegas.