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AFC playoff race standings: Raiders get help but can’t help themselves

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New England Patriots v Oakland Raiders Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders came out of the bye only a game back from the final spot in the AFC playoff race and promptly laid an egg. They had a chance to pick up a game in their division and in the playoffs and they absolutely choked. With two weeks to plan for the game they did almost nothing right and had the look of a team that has quit on the season.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

The Chiefs like the Raiders were coming off a bye and lost in overtime to the New York Giants 12-9. The Raiders had a golden opportunity to decrease the 2 game lead the Chiefs have on them in the West.


They remain 2 games back and blew an absolute gift of a chance to get back into the race for the AFC West. With only 6 games remaining picking up 2 games just became that much harder. Had they won they would be 1 game back of the Chiefs with another matchup coming up and a chance to take the division.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

The Chargers destroyed the Buffalo Bills 54-24 and subsequently moved into 2nd place over the Raiders. The Chargers played like a team with their season on the line and they earned the 2nd place spot in the West.


Oakland lost their first matchup with the Chargers 16-17 and now are in 3rd place with the same record as the Chargers. The season is not lost but it is slipping away quickly if the Raiders don’t figure things out fast. There is far too much talent on this offense to be 4-6 at this point.

Denver Broncos (3-7)

The Denver Broncos lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 17-20 and dropped themselves into last place in the West. More concerning for Denver is that they have now lost 6 straight heading into their 2nd matchup with the Raiders.


This was a great outcome for Oakland as the Broncos have now lost 6 straight and have spiraled firmly in last place in the AFC West. However, the Raiders could easily take the last place spot with a loss to the Broncos next week

Now the Wild Card Teams

Tennessee Titans (6-4)

The Titans started off 1 12 games ahead of the Oakland Raiders for a wild card spot in the playoffs. The Titans lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-40 this week but still have a lead on the wild card playoff spot.


The Raiders had another gift opportunity to pick up a game in the wild card and they blew it. The Titans are now 2 games up on the Raiders with only 6 games to go.

Buffalo Bills (5-5)

The Bills lost their 3rd game in a row and have opened the door for most of the AFC teams in the wild card race. The Raiders caught a huge break when the Chargers demolished Buffalo 54-24. Unfortunately the Raiders did not capitalize on the opportunity.


The Raiders needed some help to get back in the wild card race and they got it from multiple teams. Unfortunately they also forgot that they needed to help themselves. As a result the Raiders remain 1 12 games back in the wild card race with time running out quickly on them.

Miami Dolphins (4-6)

Miami lost it’s 4th straight to fall to 4-6 after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-30. This helped the Raiders as they now are tied with the Dolphins at 4-6. The Raiders own the tie breaker having beaten Miami in week 12.


The Raiders took the lead over the Dolphins thanks to a tie breaker but they should be a game ahead. Unfortunately everyone is trying to help the Raiders make the playoffs except the Raiders.

Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

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 beat the Packers 23-0 with the Packers playing without Aaron Rodgers.


The Raiders lost ground to Baltimore even further falling 1 12 games back on the Ravens after starting the weekend only being a 12 game back. The season is slipping away from Oakland after yet another devastating loss.

New York Jets (4-6)

The Raiders hold the tie breaker over the Jets after beating them handily in week 2. The Jets were on a bye this week so the Raiders did not lose ground on them but they did lose a 12 game do the loss.


The Raiders lost a 12 game lead on the Jets after their latest embarrassment this season dropped them to 4-6. They did not lose their lead over the Jets thanks in part to their week 2 win against them.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

The Bengals have the same record as Oakland at 4-6 after beating the Broncos in week 12. The Bengals and Denver went down to the wire but in the end the Bengal pulled out the win 20-17. The Bengals aren’t much of a threat but then again as of now neither are the Raiders.


The Raiders no longer have a lead on the Bengals in the AFC Playoff race. With both teams having the same record the Raiders will need the Bengals to start losing to simplify things. That being said the Raiders also need to realize they have to win for any of this to matter.

Overall AFC Outcome

The Raiders again were gifted losses to almost every AFC West team but couldn’t capitalize. The Broncos lost, and the Chiefs lost giving the Raiders the chance to pick up a game on both. Unfortunately the Raiders just don’t seem to be the same team from last year and have shown very little heart this year when it mattered.

Outside of their division everyone except for the Ravens lost just like the Raiders needed them to. With Buffalo, Tennessee and Miami all taking losses this weekend the Raiders had a golden opportunity to get back into the AFC Playoff race. The Raiders just weren’t up to the task, the team from weeks 1 and 2 is a distant memory and the playoffs seem to get further and further from reality.

Derek Carr and Khalil Mack have not put this team on their backs and both have had subpar seasons by their standards. Jack Del Rio is either not inclined to admit his mistakes with Todd Downing and Ken Norton Jr., or he just isn’t paying attention. The team is a disaster after 10 games and he appears to be losing the team.

If the Raiders are going to challenge for a playoff spot players are going to need to start being held accountable. Reggie Nelson continues to get the most snaps on the team and nobody with eyes can understand why. He is horrendous and yet it seems he’s the single high safety on every 3rd down, followed by him being late to come over and help.