The Las Vegas Raiders steamrolled through the Denver Broncos, at home, in their quest for the postseason. Last week I gave them 75% odds of making playoffs, with their win last Sunday, it’s only looking better for them, as they control their fate.
Here is an update of the chart I made last week for AFC standings and my predictions going forward.
The AFC Hunt is a tight race
The Baltimore Ravens dropped a spot and now the NFL world sits with six teams tied at 6-3. In the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts took the top spot but are still tied with the Tennessee Titans. In the East, the Buffalo Bills lost but still are one game up (7-3) on the Miami Dolphins, and can’t forget that the New England Patriots made a statement with the win over Baltimore. The ‘Pats’ may be currently down a few games, but they aren’t out.
The AFC North is watching the Pittsburgh Steelers hold the top spot, undefeated at 9-0, while the Ravens slipped back in a tie with Cleveland Browns. The AFC West saw the Raiders move to 6-3 as well, but more importantly, 4-2 in the conference, which would give them the fifth seed if the season ended today.
Sweeping the West
The Raiders moved to 3-0 in the division after beating the Broncos. With the Kansas City Chiefs in their cross-hairs for their Week 11 matchup, the division is still up for grabs. The last time the Silver and Black swept the Chiefs was in 2012, and the last time they swept the division in whole, back in 2010, Tom Cable was the head coach.
The favoring factor here is that two of their remaining division games are at home but make no mistake, the Chiefs are looking to avenge their only loss, The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to redeem themselves after last week’s tight finish, and the scariest opponent of all may be the Broncos in Week 17.
When the smoke clears the Raiders should be standing at 4-2 in the division, maybe even 5-1, but the Chiefs coming to town after a bye, trying to avenge their only loss will be the hardest. If they can sweep Kansas City in primetime Sunday Night Football, that will put them on everyone’s radar.
The Las Vegas Raiders playoff hopes
The Raiders’ playoff hopes may take a beating this Sunday if they drop to the Chiefs. We could all but guarantee Andy Reid’s squad will win the west at that point. There would still be a good chance of them holding a wild card spot. The other teams in the hunt have tough matches as well. Now is the time to watch those conference battles.
This team still lacks consistency but is getting it done. When the passing game falters, the running game picks it up. The offense has been carrying this team but when the offense has struggled, the defense has come alive.
— Phil Jones (@PhilJonesNFL) November 16, 2020
On the other hand, the Raiders’ special teams is still hit and miss. If they can pull it all together, they can be the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Silver and Black would be that top wild-card spot going into Indianapolis to face the Colts. A team they also play in Las Vegas in Week 14.
This week coming up will be the true test. At this point, I’m keeping them at a 75% chance of making playoffs. Going into Week 11, it is just too tight of a race.
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Top Photo: Jeff Bottari/Associated Press