The Oakland Raiders were able to get back on track this week with a huge win over division rival Denver 21-14. The game started with an all out brawl kicked off when Aqib Talib again pulled Michael Crabtree’s chain while being blocked. The end result was both being suspended 2 games, meaning Crabtree potentially misses crucial games against the Giants and Chiefs.
Crabtree is appealing the suspension but his gaffe could leave Oakland without both starting WR’s after Amari Cooper was injured against the Broncos (Concussion/Ankle). Not ideal considering the Raiders are only 1 game out of both the AFC West lead and the last wild card spot in the AFC.
Nice rebound for the Raiders, who find themselves not only in the thick of the wild-card race but one game back of the division leader with a head-to-head win over the Chiefs already under their belt. That's the first thing we learned in Sunday's win over the Broncos. Lesson 2: Never mess with a man's gold chain. Look, there's no way the Raiders make the playoffs last year without Michael Crabtree. The best way to characterize him this season, though, is absentee. Oakland needs him this week, especially with Amari Cooper in the concussion protocol.
Last Week: 21
Drops have been a problem in Oakland and the running game hasn't been as stout as expected, but at least Derek Carr is getting protection. The Raiders have allowed pressure on 16.7 percent of dropbacks this season, the lowest in the NFL
Last Week: 20
The Raiders haven’t really gotten better. The rest of the AFC West merely is sinking to their disappointing level.
Last Week: 20
The Raiders are not out of the playoff race yet. They have enough offensive talent still that if they can get things clicking on that side of the ball, they can be dangerous. The big offensive plays have been too few and far between so far this season, though.
I did like Oakland's dedication to the run game against Denver. If the Raiders hope to make a playoff push, they have to find some semblance of a ground attack to help out Derek Carr. Amari Cooper got hurt and Michael Crabtree got ejected in the Broncos game, but having a little bit of a rushing attack allowed Carr to still play well.
There are questions remaining about the Raiders defense. This game didn't make me feel any better about that. However, we did see some glimpses that suggest we could see some of last year's special offense down the stretch. That's enough to believe Oakland can still make a run.
Last Week: 20
Last Week: 24
It’s been a disappointing year, but the Raiders now control their own destiny in a suddenly wide open AFC West race.
Last Week: 20
The Raiders’ season looked dead, but the AFC wild-card race is crazy. And so is the Chiefs’ collapse. Oakland finds itself one game out of the last wild-card spot and one game out of first place in the AFC West. I’m not sure the Raiders have the defense to get it done (they won’t play Paxton Lynch every week), but they’re alive.
Last Week: 19
Average Ranking: 19.14
The Raiders seem to have finally settled in after weeks of up and down rankings. The general consensus is that this is a below average team, and unfortunately they are not wrong at this point. Oakland has talent but after 11 games they just simply do not have the coaching to compliment it.
Oakland has weaknesses like every other team but the coaching staff has failed throughout the season to identify the weaknesses and adjust for them. Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the history of the NFL because he constantly evolves his defense and offense to the personnel he has. Oakland on the other hand is still trying to fit square pegs in round holes using a sledge hammer to finesse them in.
Jack Del Rio will possibly get another season depending on how the Raiders finish this season. He would be wise to consider a major philosophical change to his scheme on defense and bring in top tier coordinators. The offense should have been no less than top 3 this season and instead is in the league basement thanks to the inexperience of Todd Downing.
Super Bowl windows close fast in this league, the Raiders might want to figure it out quick before theirs closes.
Last Week: 20.57