It's hard to believe, but the Raiders are in solo possession of first place in the AFC West. And they are only one game behind in the loss column from the best record in the AFC. It is represents a shocking turnaround in perception and reality from where we were this time last week.
This time last week everything seemed to be collapsing, and the season crumbling right before our eyes. The defense was in shambles. Carson Palmer wasn't acclimating to the offense. Hue Jackson was making baffling personnel decisions, and the Raiders seemed to be on the fast track to finding themselves last in the AFC West.
Such is the week to week nature of the NFL. Teams truly are only as good as their last game. That is all about perception though. Let's deal with reality for moment. The reality is that every team in the AFC West has seven games left, and the Raiders have a one game lead on all three teams.
Jump over for a look at the remaining schedules as found on NFL.com....Raiders
All teams have two remaining games against other AFC West teams.
All teams have a game with the Bears.
Denver is the only team with four home games left. All others have three.
Let's look at the five games the teams play against non AFC West opponents.
The Chiefs do not play another game against a team with a losing record.
The Chargers and Broncos play one team with a losing record.
The Raiders play two teams with a losing record.
That is a simplified way to measure a schedule. It doesn't take into account improvements, regressions or matchups, but in this overview the Raiders have the advantage. And they have the one game lead.
It is clear that this division is the Raiders to lose. And that is a wonderful thing. We are heading into the stretch run, and we are fans of a team that is firmly in control of its own destiny.
Now, it's just up to the Raiders to take control of that destiny.