All Raiders fans could do was hope beyond hope the Broncos wouldn’t continue to look as terrible as they have over the past month. But that hope was entirely unrealistic as it turns out. They went into Kansas City Christmas night and looked about as bad as the Raiders did in KC a couple weeks ago.
While keeping the Chiefs with a shot at the AFC West, a game back of the Raiders, the Broncos were officially ousted from the playoff chase.
Here is what the playoff picture in the AFC looks like at this point:
- New England Patriots 13-2 (AFC East)
- Oakland Raiders 12-3 (AFC West)
- Pittsburgh Steelers 10-5 (AFC North)
- Houston Texans 9-6 (AFC South)
- Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (Wildcard)
- Miami Dolphins 10-5 (Wildcard)
Many of the playoff spots are now set. The Raiders are in the widest range as they could be anywhere from the number one seed to the five seed depending on how the season finale goes.
There are only two teams that can still get the number one seed — the Patriots and Raiders. Should the Patriots win in the finale against the Dolphins, they keep the number one seed. Should they lose and the Raiders win, the Raiders take the number one seed.
Should the Patriots win and the Raiders win, their seedings would remain as they are now with the Patriots at number one and Raiders at number two.
Should the Raiders lose and the Chiefs win, the Raiders would drop all the way to the fifth seed, with the Chiefs taking the number two seed and the AFC West.
That last scenario is the most crucial for obvious reasons. The Chiefs will be expected to handle the Chargers in their season finale. Meanwhile the Raiders will need to go into Denver, without Derek Carr and beat the Broncos. They will be hoping the Broncos perform similarly to how they did in Kansas City. That is to say terribly.
The Broncos turned the ball over 3 times, Trevor Siemian completed 39% of his passes, scored while the defense gave up four touchdowns and 482 total yards including 238 yards on the ground.
A performance anywhere near like that against the Raiders -- or even like the Broncos had in Oakland in their first meeting — in the finale would do wonders in helping the Raiders secure a top seed.