With four games left in the 2021 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders needed to go on a miracle run to secure a Wild Card spot in the AFC Playoffs. Going into that stretch at 6-7, the Raiders needed to win out against the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Chargers to complete the feat, as well as get some help.
That season, the team rallied around an interim head coach in Rich Bisaccia to get the job done, but can they make it a repeat performance two years later?
Going into their Week 15 matchup against the Chargers in 2023, Las Vegas stood with a 5-8 record, this after losing to the Minnesota Vikings out of the bye week, 3-0. Playing on three days rest, the Raiders played host to the Chargers in a Thursday Night Football matchup, and decimated their division rival by the score of 63-21.
While that was an impressive victory, a Week 16 road matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs loomed large on Christmas Day, a game nobody gave the Raiders a chance of winning. However, they pulled off the impossible, dominating Patrick Mahomes and company while keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.
On Sunday, they look towards another Week 17 matchup at Indianapolis to run the win streak to 3 in a row, hoping to match their 23-20 victory on the road in Week 17 of the 2021 season to stay alive in a wide open AFC Playoff race.
Raiders will once again need to be perfect to move to .500 against the Colts
The Colts have been surprisingly good this season, and their head coach, Shane Steichen could be in the running for Coach of the Year. Despite losing rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson early in the year, and seeing Jonathan Taylor miss a month, the Colts are sitting at 8-7, and could be in line to win the AFC South if they can win out.
A victory by the Colts Sunday would end the Raiders playoff hopes, so you can expect the same kind of effort we saw on Christmas Day from them in this one. Interim head coach Antonio Pierce has this team playing with a swagger, especially on defense, and there is a chance they could get Josh Jacobs back for this matchup as well.
Back in 2021, Jacobs ran for 63 yards and a touchdown in the Raiders victory, but even if he cannot go, Zamir White showed he could shoulder the load on Monday against Kansas City. The second year back rushed for over 140 yards against the Chiefs as the Raiders passing game was stuck in neutral, but in order for the Raiders to win this one, they will need all facets of the game clicking on the road.