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NFL playoff picture: Raiders in 3-way tie for 1st in AFC West, trip to KC ahead

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NFL: New York Giants at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few weeks ago the Raiders were dead in the water and watching their playoff hopes crash and burn. Now fast forward to week 13 and the Raiders are suddenly tied for 1st place in the West and control their own destiny. This certainly wasn’t the way they envisioned being in 1st place but rest assured they will take it.

Oakland defeated the New York Giants 24-17 in a must win game and now they face the 2 teams they are tied for 1st with over the last 4 games of the season. The last game of the season with the Los Angeles Chargers could determine 1st place in the AFC West. The Raiders play Kansas City next week with a chance to pull a full game ahead in the West over the Chiefs.

Let’s take a look at where the Raiders stand in their own division but also in the wild card race should they falter.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (6-6)

The Chiefs imploded further with another loss to the New York Jets 31-38 and allowed the Raiders to pull even for a 3-way tie for 1st place in the AFC West. The Raiders have a real chance to pull ahead of Kansas City should they win next weekend at Kansas City. While slumping this will be no easy task for the Raiders but if they want to see the playoffs they will have to find a way to get it done.

Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

The Chargers beat the pathetic Cleveland Browns 19-10 to also pull into 1st place with the Raiders and Chiefs. The season is leading more and more to the Raiders and Chargers facing each other on the last game of the season for what likely will determine the winner of the AFC West. The Raiders can’t ask for more than that, they have a chance to win their division by beating a division rival on the last game of the season.

Oakland Raiders (6-6)

Oakland lost their first match-up with the Chargers 16-17 and will have a chance to even the series on December 31st in a game that looks now like it will very likely determine the winner of the AFC West.

The Raiders win over the Giants and the Chiefs losing yet again brings them to 3-way tie for the lead in the AFC West. The Raiders are still in control their own destiny as they won the first match-up with the Chiefs and play them again in next week with a chance to be up a full game.

Denver Broncos (3-9)

The Broncos continue to spiral as they lost yet another game, this time to the Miami Dolphins 35-9. Should they lose next weekend they will have cemented themselves firmly into last place in the West. The Broncos are in last place by 3 games and appear to be a team on the verge of firing their coach. Their season is over and they are playing like it.

Division leaders

1. Steelers (10-2)

2. Patriots (10-2)

3. Titans (8-4)

4. Chiefs (6-6)

Wild Card Teams in Order

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

The Jaguars got back on track after losing last weekend by beating the Indianapolis Colts 30-10. The win has given the Jaguars the edge for the 1st wild card spot, the Raiders likely have no shot to challenge for this spot as they would need pretty much everyone on this list to lose the rest of the way.

6. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

Baltimore appears to be getting hot at the right time as they won a must win game against Detroit 44-20. The Ravens now own the final wild card spot in the AFC with only 4 weeks to go. With only a 1 game lead this can change very quickly.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

Same record as the Raiders but with a edge due to winning the 1st game they played each other. Showdown 12/31 could determine the West or the Wild Card.

8. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

The Bills fell to the Patriots 3-23 and allowed the Raiders to pull even with them in the race for the final wild card spot. Both the Bills and Raiders are now 1 game behind Baltimore for the final wild card spot.

9. Oakland Raiders (6-6)

Same record as the Chargers, but lost to them in their first meeting so currently lose the tiebreaker. Same record as the Chiefs but win against them early in the season gives them the edge here for now.

10. New York Jets (5-7)

The Jets did the Raiders a favor by beating the Chiefs 38-31 and allowing the Raiders to pull even for the lead in the West.

11. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

Miami pulled out of it’s slump just long enough to embarrass the Denver Broncos 35-9 and keep themselves in the running for the final wild card spot.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)

The Bengals blew a huge lead in a division game against the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-23 and are now 2 games back of the final wild card spot.

Outlook

Oakland is exactly where it wants to be as it controls its own destiny. All they have to do is win the last 4 games and the division is theirs. This team is still very flawed but there is enough talent on this team that should they get hot they become a Super Bowl favorite instantly.

Their remaining opponents are the Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles and Chargers. If they beat the Chiefs next week and the Chargers in the finale, the Raiders can afford to lose to either the Cowboys or Eagles and still win the division. Buckle up boys and girls the last 4 weeks will tell the tale of the Raiders season.