Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
As it turns out, all the Raiders really need to make up some ground in the AFC West is to not play. While the Raiders were taking their NFL mandated week off, the rest of the division was out losing their games. It makes for the most successful week of the season for the Raiders.
Sitting at 1-3, they moved from a tie for last place in the division to squarely ahead of the Chiefs who dropped to 1-4 with a 9-6 home loss to the Ravens. In the process they lost their starting quarterback, Matt Cassel. Not that he was doing much good for the hapless Chiefs but to expect Brady Quinn to be their savior is a tall order.
The Broncos lost to the Patriots, and the Chargers finished out the trifecta of AFC West losing Sunday when the Saints were able to get their first win over them. To be fair, the Chargers were pretty much screwed out of the game by some terrible calls from the officials. And this time it was the "real" refs that did it. But that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
The Chargers drop to 3-2 and the Broncos to 2-3 which means the Raiders picked up a half game on both of them and are now a game back of the Broncos who destroyed them last week in Denver.
This is actually the best week of the season for the Raiders. When they beat the Steelers in week three, they gained one game on the Broncos and Chargers, but the Chiefs won that week as well so they remained at the bottom of the division. This is the first week this season they have moved out of a share of last place and gained on every team in the AFC West. Bye week to the rescue!
With the play of the Chiefs as well as the Jaguars and Titans, it is also quite possible the Raiders could find themselves moving up the power rankings this week as well. In most polls, the Raiders are ranked 31st, just above the 0-5 Cleveland Browns. But even after the Raiders' ugly loss in Denver, I would say they are looking better than at least the Jaguars and Titans and as I mentioned, are now technically ahead of the Chiefs in the division by a half game.
This doesn't really say anything for the Raiders team. It doesn't magically make them better. Although, it does help that during their week off, they not only didn't fall farther behind, but actually gained some ground.
It will also probably not last long as the Raiders travel to Atlanta next week to face the 5-0 Falcons. Getting a win there would take a miracle. So, have fun storming that castle.