Essentially, the Raiders will be in playoff mode for the remainder of their season. Starting Week 11, an AFC showdown with the defending Super Bowl Champions in Mexico City, Oakland starts the daunting uphill battle for the 2017 playoffs. Every win will give life and hope to Jack Del Rio’s group. On the flip side, every single loss will be devastating and possibly season ending for the Raiders.
One of the biggest obstacles in the way of the team’s playoff hopes, other than themselves, will be their tough schedule. A lot has been made regarding the remaining opponents, including me, on how tough it will be to navigate through the last seven games. Depending on which Raiders team we see, the outcomes will vary.
Therefore, the rest of the season can play out three different ways for Oakland: Best, expected and worst case scenarios. Let’s dig in and check them out.
Best Case: 6-1
The Raiders come out and beat New England in a Mexico City. They take care of business at home against the Broncos and Giants the following two weeks. Now here’s where things get interesting. They loss in Kansas City but beat a Dallas team without Ezekiel Elliot. The Eagles rest their starters in week 16 and the Raiders beat the best team in the NFL. Lastly, they win in Los Angeles for their tenth win. At 10-6, a wildcard spot is there for Oakland.
Here, I have the Raiders losing a nail-bitter in Mexico. They go 2-0 in weeks 12 and 13. Derek Carr struggles in Kansas City and losses in Arrowhead for the fourth straight year. Carr and company recover against the Cowboys but loss to a tough Eagles team. They take care of the Chargers to even their record at 8-8. I can’t imagine that gets you in the playoffs, unless somehow the Chiefs have a complete meltdown.
Worst Case: 2-5
Outside of beating New York and Los Angeles, the Raiders play like the team that lost to the Bills and Redskins earlier in the season. They loss to Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz and for the second time in one calendar year, a Brock Osweiler lead team. At 6-10, Reggie McKenzie has some major decisions in the off-season to make. A team this talented cannot finish with a losing record.
Hopefully, Del Rio corrects the ship this week and the teams plays closer to their full potential. If not, the 2018 off-season will be rough on everyone involved.