raiders real chance climb back afc playoff race

#Raiders #real #chance #climb #AFC #playoff #race

Do not give up on the Las Vegas Raiders’ playoffs chances just yet, because that door is still cracked open. 

It may not be wide open, but there is still a little bit of light shining through. 

They could open it a little wider on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams. 

It was not that long ago that the Raiders were 2-7, at the bottom of the AFC Standings, and looking like they might make Josh McDaniels their latest one-and-done head coach. But over the past few weeks they have started to inch their way back into playoff contention. They have won three games in a row, and their remaining schedule at least gives them a chance, slim as it might be, to salvage what looked like a lost season.

Here is the situation and the potential path. There are a lot of “ifs” and gets it a little complicated, so follow along.

It starts on Thursday against a Rams team that has completely self destructed with six consecutive losses and is either going to be starting John Wolford or Baker Mayfield at quarterback. Mayfield just arrived in Los Angeles two days ago and can not possibly know more than a few plays. 

That is not only a winnable game, it might even be a “should” win game. 

After that, the Raiders schedule features two games that could be pivotal in the AFC Wild Card race in New England and Pittsburgh.

The Patriots are currently a game ahead of the Raiders in the standings at 6-6. If the Raiders take care of business on Thursday, they would be in a position to leapfrog the Patriots in their head-to-head meeting. Even if the Patriots beat Arizona on Sunday to improve to 7-6, a Raiders win the next two weeks would put both teams at 7-7.

That could then set the stage for Christmas Eve in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are another team that is trying to piece together a late-season surge, and has its next two games against a struggling Baltimore team that could be starting Tyler Huntley at quarterback, and then a bad Carolina Panthers team. Those are winnable games. A game that looked like a potential dud a few weeks ago now has the chance to be pretty significant. 

The Raiders then finish their season with the Brock Purdy led San Francisco 49ers in Week 17, and then divisional rival Kansas City in Week 18. 

Is that a lot that needs to happen? You bet it is. But the Raiders have at least given themselves a shot to stay in the race, and as long as they keep taking care of business they could make this season very interesting down the stretch. With the way running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Davante Adams are going right now you can not completely rule them out. Given where they were just a month ago that is a huge accomplishment on its own. 

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