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Raiders falling out of playoff contention

Following their worst performance of the season, Las Vegas must consider its best and worst case scenarios

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders moved cities, but if they wanted to make the playoffs in 2020 maybe they should have moved conferences.

Though Vegas is 6-5 and has games remaining against the Jets, Chargers and Broncos, the Raiders’ postseason hopes have dwindled considerably following back-to-back losses to the Chiefs and Falcons. On Sunday, Jon Gruden’s team lost 43-6 to an Atlanta team that sits at only 4-7. Even if the Falcons have improved in recent weeks, there was nothing excusable or playoff-like about the Raiders’ performance.

Were they placed in the NFC East or competing for a wild card berth in the other conference, Vegas would have much more realistic playoff aspirations. In the AFC, the Raiders may have no more room for error.

It’s been practically nothing but errors for Derek Carr recently.

Dating back to the final play against the Chiefs in Week 11, when Carr threw a game-ending interception, he’s had five turnovers over his last 12 drives. Gruden turned to backup Nathan Peterman by the fourth quarter, an action few ever expected given that Peterman entered the day with 12 interceptions on 130 career passes.

The Raiders fell out of serious contention to win the division after losing to Kansas City last week, but were a force to be reckoned with among wild card teams. Sunday’s loss not only dampens any “fear” out of facing Gruden’s team, but makes it less likely that they will even be a wild card team.

Wins by the Browns, Titans and Dolphins improved their records to 8-3, 8-3 and 7-4, respectively. The loss by the Raiders dropped them to 6-5 and puts them in eighth place. If the Ravens play and beat the Steelers on Tuesday, they will improve to 7-4. The Patriots, once 2-5, won for the third time in four games and now only sit one game behind Vegas at 5-6.

The Raiders next play the 0-11 Jets, followed by home games against the Colts, Chargers and Dolphins. They finish the season in Denver against the Broncos.

A perfect record should get Las Vegas into the postseason, but even going 4-1 in that stretch could leave them on the outside looking in for the third time in three years under Gruden. And for the 17th time in the last 18 years.

The long-term future remains bright, so long as you’re painting around the right context. The short-term future is concerning regardless of how you look at it.