Being called the best 1-4 NFL team is a nice compliment. It means that if not for a mental mistake here or there, perhaps a missed tackle or even a fumble, your record would look entirely different. For the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s a friendly endorsement. Be that as it may, it doesn’t erase the fact that the team currently holds the second overall pick. Coming off their bye week, the Raiders did well in the latest NFL power rankings, which were posted on the league’s website.
NFL Power Rankings: Las Vegas Raiders come in at No. 16 ahead of Week 7
Dropping two spots from their previous rankings, the Raiders went into their bye fresh off of a crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. At first, it was a game that the Silver and Black were thoroughly dominating. That was thanks in part to Josh Jacobs’ notable effort and some big plays from Davante Adams. Unfortunately, the second half followed suit with the team’s trajectory this season. They’ve been unable to put away teams by not giving a complete, full-game effort. Offensive miscues and defensive lapses eventually caught up to the Raiders. Now, Josh McDaniels’ squad finds itself three games under .500, though there’s reason for optimism. As Dan Hanzus points out, the next stretch of games heavily favors the Raiders.
“Vegas comes out of its bye with a very favorable schedule that should put Josh McDaniels’ team in a good position to get off the mat. The Raiders’ next six opponents are a combined 13-20-2. Catching the Chiefs in the AFC West might be a stretch but jumping back into the playoff race is well within reason.”
As far as the schedule goes, the Raiders can’t overlook anyone. Fans are convincing themselves that X game is winnable, or Y game should be easy. However, for a team that’s underwhelmed every week, none of these games will be a cakewalk. The Raiders need to prove they can put away teams that are “beneath” them, not play down to their level. More importantly, we’ll see if the playoffs are a possibility, as Hanzus alluded to. The AFC West is now suddenly winnable (or at least, a second-place finish is). Can this team respond?
*Top Photo: Nick Cammett/Getty Images