The Oakland Raiders are 2-4, after their heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Oakland last Sunday. A botched snap, a failed fourth down conversion, turnovers and shaky play by the defense doomed the Raiders to their fourth straight defeat.
At this point of the season, the Raiders find themselves in disarray and searching for the magic they experienced last season. The team, especially the offense, has played as bad as a team with this much talent can do. So the arrow can only point up from here.
Even with their horrendous start of the 2017 season, the Raiders playoff hopes are still intact and alive. After this weekend’s losses by Denver, Baltimore and Buffalo, the AFC Wild Card picture is wide open. Let’s take an early look at the playoff picture in the AFC and see where the Raiders fit into the equation.
AFC Divisional Leaders: New England Patriots 4-2, Kansas City Chiefs 5-1, Pittsburgh Steelers 4-2, three-way tie for AFC South at 3-3
AFC Wild Card: Denver, Buffalo and Miami at 3-2
Looking at the table above, outside of Kansas City, Oakland is within two games of each team. More importantly, only 1.5 games back from the wild card spots. Hope is still there for this team, that if they can correct the ship and gets things back on track, the playoffs are not out of the picture. And if you look at the rest of the schedule for Oakland this season, games against Buffalo, Miami, New England, and the rest of the AFC West (Kansas City twice), their destiny is still in their hands.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio and his coordinators, Todd Downing and Ken Norton Jr, need to fix the mistakes on both sides of the ball to get the team going. The offense ranks #30 in total yards this season, while the defense is #23 is yards allowed. A lot of room where the team can improve on. If the Raiders can start to build towards their high octane offense and turnover driven defense they had last season, their playoffs hopes will get better.
What does all of this mean? It means the Raiders, as bad as they’ve been this season, is still in the thick of things and can change the direction of the year thus far. It starts this Thursday against the Chiefs. This game will speak volumes on where the Raiders will be at the end of the season.
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