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Raiders prove to be threat to playoff hopefuls in two toughest divisions in NFL

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In the two toughest divisions in football, even the bottom dwelling Raiders prove to be a thorn in the side of those vying for a spot in the playoffs.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall Faulk asks: To be GMC Professional Grade you must scrutinize from top to bottom. Some divisions have four teams in playoff contention, while others are lucky to have one. Look at the league and tell me, which division is the toughest from top to bottom?

Divisions don't get much tougher than the NFL's two West divisions. Between the two of them, there are seven playoff contending teams. The only team that is out of playoff contention are the Raiders and they are the ones who have made life very difficult of late for a couple of the other playoff contenders.

Two of the Raiders last three games have been wins over the Chiefs and 49ers. Both teams are trying to hang on for a playoff berth against division foes. And losing to the Raiders was a huge blow to those hopes.

With these two tough divisions playing each other all season, everyone has a tough schedule. The Rams were also supposed to be a bottom dweller but they too have come up of late and are threatening to leapfrog teams ahead of them in the playoff hunt.

These teams all have their work cut out for them against each other, so to lose to the last place team is especially devastating.

With the season nearing its end, the last real threat the Raiders will pose to a playoff hopeful could be this week when they travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs for the second time in four weeks time.

As if losing to the Raiders at all wasn't bad enough, being swept by them could seal their fate with the Broncos and Chargers playing good football, would likely be the killing blow for their playoff hopes. It would drop them to 7-7 with their only hope of making it into the playoffs would be to have a lot of cards fall their way including beating the Chargers in the season finale with the winner securing a the playoff berth.

The 49ers, who the Raiders beat last Sunday are also at 7-6 currently. Losing to the Raiders puts them too in a very tough spot. They travel to Seattle this week where they face a 9-4 Seahawks team that is on a win streak. Winning in Seattle is tough enough as it was. If they lose their playoff hopes are hanging on by the thinnest of threads. That loss to the Raiders looms large for them.

This week the Raiders continue to try and play the role of spoiler in Kansas City.

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