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Raiders win big in AFC playoff race over the bye

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins
Raiders came up big over the bye week.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders went into the bye in 2nd place in the AFC West and 1.5 games out of a AFC wild card spot. Once the weekend was over they were only 1 game back in the AFC wild card race and firmly in 2nd place in the West. Let’s take a look at the teams the Raiders needed to lose this weekend and how it benefits or hurts them starting in the AFC West.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3)

The Chiefs like the Raiders were on a bye so the Raiders neither gained or lost ground here. The Raiders remain 2 games back of the Chiefs who suddenly look very beatable, but Oakland will need to come out on fire in the 2nd half.

Outcome

They did not gain any ground but being only 2 games back at this point after how they played is a win.

Los Angeles Chargers (3-6)

The Chargers lost a heart-breaker to the Jacksonville Jaguars in OT 20-17 after both teams tried their best not to win this game. That being said had the Chargers won they would be in 2nd place in the AFC West and pushing Oakland to 3rd. Oakland lost the 1st game to the Chargers so they currently own the tie-breaker vs the Raiders.

Outcome

Oakland benefits in the AFC West but takes a loss in the AFC playoff picture as they needed the Jaguars to lose to gain ground. Guess here is the Raiders will take the Chargers loss and still count it as a win as the division comes first.

Denver Broncos (3-6)

The Denver Broncos lost to the New England Patriots 41-16 in what can only be described as a prison rape scene for Broncos fans. For Raiders fans it was more like a small child watching Frozen for the first time, it was pure magic and entertainment. The only downside is the Patriots won but again the division comes first.

Outcome

This was a great outcome for Oakland as the Broncos have now lost 5 straight and have spiraled firmly in last place in the AFC West.

Raiders still in it despite bad start.

Now the Wild Card Teams

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3)

The Jaguars won but this is not the bad news we think it is as they still are only 2 games up on the Raiders. The reason why this is also not bad news is the Jags played the Chargers and that helped the Raiders keep 2nd place in the AFC West.

Outcome

Remember division comes first, if the Raiders can win the division the wild card is irrelevant. The Jags 20-17 win helped the Raiders in their division so you take the loss here and still it’s a win.

Buffalo Bills (5-4)

The Bills lost their 2nd game in a row and appear to be spiraling at just the right time for Oakland. They were curb stomped by the New Orleans Saints 47-10 playing right into Oakland's favor. The Raiders needed Buffalo to lose and well Derek Carr must have called in a favor upstairs because they got it.

Outcome

The Raiders needed some help over the bye to stay in the hunt for the wild card spot and they got it in the form of a red hot Saints team. This was the best case scenario as they not only lost but lost big, the kind of loss that sends a season off the tracks. That is great news for a Raiders team looking for a foot in the door against a team that owns the tie breaker against them.

Miami Dolphins (4-5)

Oakland beat the Dolphins so they own the tie breaker but they still needed Miami to lose to the Carolina Panthers in order to stay ahead of them. They got exactly that as on Monday night the Panthers embarrassed the Dolphins 45-21. A huge loss for Miami and a big gain for Oakland in the AFC playoff race.

Outcome

Again this was the best case scenario for the Raiders, the Dolphins suffered a major beat down. The kind that kills morale and sinks a team for the season, Oakland must now capitalize on this to continue to gain ground.

Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Oakland lost to the Ravens 30-17 in week 5 so they need Baltimore to lose games since they hold the tie breaker against the Raiders. Unfortunately the Ravens were on a bye week so there was nothing to be gained here. That also means though there was nothing lost either.

Outcome

With Baltimore being on a bye the Raiders neither gained or lost ground. They have 7 weeks to pull away from Baltimore in the AFC playoff race.

New York Jets (4-6)

The Raiders hold the tie breaker over the Jets after beating them handily in week 2. A win in week 10 however would put the Jets a 12 game up on Oakland but they fell to the Buccaneers 15-10. Nice break for Oakland in week 10 in a season where not much has gone their way recently.

Outcome

This was another best case scenario for the Raiders as they went from leading the Jets on a tie breaker to a better overall record. The Raiders couldn’t have asked for a better result.

Overall AFC Outcome

The Raiders flat out couldn’t have asked for a better result to all of the games the AFC played this weekend. The Raiders came out of the bye with a W in the West without having to play a single snap they gained a 12 game lead on the Broncos and Chargers. They now have a 1 game lead on both heading into the 2nd half stretch.

Outside of their division everyone except for the Jaguars lost like the Raiders needed, with Buffalo, New York and Miami all taking losses this weekend. The Raiders couldn’t have asked for a better weekend result if they tried. The football Gods have smiled upon them and now they need to come out and take advantage of the gift they have been given.

Derek Carr and Khalil Mack will need to put this team on their back for the last half of the season if they want to make the playoffs. Jack Del Rio will need to find a way to get his team back to playing like they did in weeks 1 and 2. There is no margin for error at this point of the season for the Oakland Raiders.

If the Raiders are going to challenge for a playoff spot certain players are going to need to step up. I’m looking at you Eddie Vanderdoes, David Amerson, Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson, Gabe Jackson, Amari Cooper, and Seth Roberts. All have been underwhelming this season and that needs to change quickly or the season is over.