AFC West Overview: Raiders Still In The Hunt

Oakland Raiders
Nov 5, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) leaves the game during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

By losing, the AFC West accomplished some great things for the Raiders last week. Judging by how some of the teams look, the Raiders own a legitimate shot at making a wildcard spot. There isn’t much margin for error. In addition, the defense must start pulling their weight as well as the offense has to keep pace with some of the more explosive. Let’s see how things shook out this past week for the teams.

Kansas City enjoyed a bye this week, but it did help out the division as they didn’t accrue another notch in the win column. Having the Chiefs idle also made the rest of the division get viewed under a microscope to see who could challenge the Chiefs. Also, the Chiefs now have two weeks to prepare for the unraveling New York Giants, so that will be another easy win for Kansas City this upcoming week.

The Broncos faced off against the Patriots in what was one of the biggest mismatches of the weekend. On Sunday night, Tom Brady destroyed the Broncos defense and showed why he will most likely go down as one of, if not the greatest quarterback of all time. Not only did the Patriots offense not have a problem moving the ball against the Broncos D, but other than Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos offense again sputtered and stalled against one of the more underwhelming defenses in the league. This week, the Broncos play the Bengals, which should be one of the more “if you have chores this is the time to get them done” type of games on the upcoming slate.

Again, the first two teams mentioned weren’t really the teams that the Raiders should worry about moving up, one because they were on a bye, and the second looks like it might be throwing in the towel on this season. Yet, the Chargers are the one team in the division that can win any game, any time. As perpetual underdogs, the Chargers always show up to play, especially against defenses that they should not be able to do anything against. Against the Jaguars, the Chargers came to play and took the Jaguars all the way to overtime in a failing effort. Although they lost, it just goes to show that the Chargers fight and can’t ever be counted out. This week, they play the Bills, who have been surprisingly good given how many assets they’ve shipped off this season.

Last but not least, the Raiders, who also had a bye this past week. Watching the other teams this week lose gave the Raiders hope. The window to securing a spot in the postseason is closing, but can still happen with good play and a lot of luck. Sunday, they face off against the Patriots in Mexico City, so not exactly the most conducive conditions for a win. Yet we will see what two weeks of game-planning can do for the Raiders.

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