Christmas Day 2023 will be one victory for the Las Vegas Raiders that will be remembered for a long time in Raider Nation. It's the moment when Antonio Pierce solidified his status from interim to the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Okay, it's not officially set in stone yet, but from the feel of social media, it seems to be inevitable.
The defense did it for the second straight week by scoring a pair of touchdowns off of a pair of Patrick Mahomes turnovers. Jack Jones intercepted one to the house again that may have earned him a new contract, along with Patrick Graham and his championship-caliber defense.
Now they're on the precipice of replicating 2021 all over again, with some help of course.
The offense was stagnant under Aidan O'Connell. He didn't complete a pass through three quarters and the Raiders still did enough to win over a normally dominant home squad that has ruled this series.
They need an upgrade at quarterback in the offseason. That could potentially be the missing piece if Mark Davis does the right thing and takes away the interim tag from Pierce.
Raiders in playoff-mode, not playing for draft position
The Raiders have been in playoff mode for weeks now and that will continue in Indianapolis next Sunday. They need to heal up Kolton Miller, Josh Jacobs and Michael Mayer to increase their chances of qualifying for the playoffs. No one could have predicted that these two clubs would be in that position heading in to week 17.
With all the hate and pressure that Josh McDaniels received for his 3-5, uninspiring start, he and Dave Zeigler constructed this group. Pierce, on the other hand, has gotten them to play with an effort that McDaniels never would have done. He's 4-3 with a chance to finish 6-3, even if they don't make the playoffs.
As it stands the Raiders currently have a 4% shot at making the tournament after Monday's improbable win. That moves up to around 35% if they win at Indy and almost 70% if they win both according to the New York times and over 30,000 plus simulations.
The concerns about the draft and free agency can wait for another time. They want to do the unthinkable now and prove McDaniels and the naysayers wrong. If O'Connell can manage the next two weeks over an Indy defense who gave up 29 to Atlanta's lethargic offense and a Broncos unit that just lost to Bailey Zappe, Graham's defenders won't have to score multiple times to secure a four game winning streak and sneak in the back door of the postseason.