Posted some of this on another thread, but since I made a fanpost last week on the subject of playoffs, I figured I'd make an 'update' in the FP section.
Here's where we're at:
1) If we WIN this weekend, and the Ravens (hosting Vikings) and Miami (at Pittsburgh) LOSE this weekend, then we are RIGHT BACK in the thick of the playoff hunt. At that point, we're only 1 game out of the WC spot! If we lose, however, we face PO elimination if either of those two teams wins. While mathematically that might not technically be the case, the odds would become so astronomical they'd not be worth consideration. Basically we MUST win this weekend to have ANY shot. I think we all know this ;)
2) As long as the Raiders beat the Jets, then the game the following week (hosting KC) has 'playoff implications'. We *cannot* be eliminated before taking the field for that game, as long as we've beaten the Jets. The worst case scenario we could be in, before we take the field, is that we'd be looking at needing to win all our last three (KC/at SD/Denver) while Miami loses their last two (at Buff/NYJ). But that situation only arises if Miami goes to Pittsburgh this weekend and wins, then also beats NE at home next weekend before we take the field, putting them at 8-6 with a 7-3 division record. Thinks it's reasonable to guess that won't happen.
3) As long as the Raiders also beat the Chiefs, there is only 1 way by which the Raiders can be eliminated before taking the field for week 16 in SD. That's if Miami has gone on a 3 game tear, defeating Buffalo in Week 16 before we even start the game to move to 9-6. This would be a situation reminiscent of 2010, wherein we were eliminated in the morning of week 16, immediately prior to playing the Colts in the afternoon, after going 2-1 in the past 3 games (even the records would be close, as we'd be 6-8 instead of 7-7 going in). But as long as that ONE thing doesn't happen with Miami, and we win our two games, week 16 will be for PO contention.
4) If we do also manage to beat SD, then we will likely be playing a meaningful game in week 17 as well. The only way that's not the case is if we were already eliminated by Miami winning 3 straight, OR if the Ravens have won 3 straight (Vikings/at Lions/Pats), or *possibly* if the Titans have won 3 straight (at Broncos/Cards/at Jags), but that situation could get very complicated. Also, one of them could've already won week 17 to clinch a spot before we start since it's a 4pm ET game, but I'm not going to go look up when/who they all play. I've done enough clicking around for now.
Basically, if the Raiders can just find a way to win the next two games, go on a little run ... there's a VERY reasonable possibility (better than 60% odds I'd say) that we'll be playing a very meaningful game against SD in Week 16, and a not-terribly-unlikely chance for playoffs (around 40% I'd guess ... we just need Miami, Baltimore, and Tenn to lose at least 1 game each ... not terrible odds as they each have two tough games out of three) to still be on the line in our very last game ... IF we can start winning, and KEEP winning to finish the season.