If only we would have beaten the Jaguars ... That’s the thought of every Raiders fan -- and every member of the Raiders -- after a Sunday win over the Chargers that, coupled with losses by theSteelers and Titans, keeps Oakland on the edge of the playoff picture entering Week 17. According to ESPN’s number crunchers, the Raiders entered Week 16 with a 1-in-200 chance of making it to the playoffs. Entering Week 17? It’s all the way up to 1-in-8. Still, it’s best to temper expectations: Before Sunday’s win, the Raiders had been riding a four-game losing streak in which they scored just 12.3 points per game and allowed 34.0 (both worst in NFL). This team isn’t quite ready for prime time, but the Baby Raiders provide hope for the future.
Despite missing two of the Raiders’ past three games with a fractured right shoulder, the rookie running back has carried the Raiders’ offense in rushing for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns on 242 carries (4.75 yards per carry). “He is a tough guy, he is a great kid and he’s smart. And he’s a great competitor,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Jacobs. “Those are the things that people don’t see. Maybe they feel it, but he is off the charts when it comes to being on the mark in terms of his assignments, and he has a lot of pride in his performance. He’s the perfect centerpiece for our offense.
It’s been a tough month for the Raiders, but Derek Carr turned in another stellar start (26-of-30, 291 yards, TD, 118.2 rating) to complete the season sweep of their Cali counterparts. DeAndre Washington (85 yards on 23 carries, TD) filled in admirably for Josh Jacobs while Hunter Renfrow turned in the best game of his rookie year (107 yards on seven receptions, TD).
The Raiders are still alive in the NFL playoff picture because Jon Gruden keeps getting them to fight through their final run for Oakland. They have filled more personnel holes than most would think in 2019, and they will carry some good momentum to Las Vegas.
Pieces continue falling in place for what could be remarkable playoff surge in Oakland swan song. Next, Silver & Black need regular season to end in four-way tie with Titans, Steelers and Colts ... but even that might not be enough.
As strange as it sounds, they can still make the playoffs. Can you believe it? They need to beat Denver and get some help.
Average Rank: 19.8
Don’t know how, but this team is still alive in the playoff hunt. It will take something special on Sunday to make it happen. In addition to a win at Denver, they need help from Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston, and Indianapolis.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a wild finish.