The Las Vegas Raiders are still mathematically alive in the playoff race. Yes, they’re going to need lots of help and, simultaneously, win out the remainder of the season. See last year for crazier things that have happened to the Raiders. However, what about other implications that could stem from Sunday’s future results?
Of course, the predominant headline heading into Sunday is the matchup of Josh McDaniels versus Bill Belichick. It’s the classic tale of “pupil versus master.” Now, the game won’t be on primetime as originally scheduled because both teams failed to live up to expectations this season. Nevertheless, both squads can still reach the postseason, so this contest is far from a throwaway game. On the other hand, the results of this game and the other final three will have a tremendous impact on the draft order. On top of that, all eyes will be on the coaching staff just as much as the Raiders’ players.
In fact, ESPN’s Jason Fitz weighed in on the latter recently. While appearing on “Morning Tailgate with Clay Baker,” Fitz alluded to the notion that if the Raiders fall flat on Sunday, it could be a sign of something much more concerning.
â€œI think Sunday is a huge key for the next five years for the organization because if this team comes out flat on Sunday against the Patriots, then this team is not fighting for Josh McDaniels and it’s not fighting for this coaching staff. If they come out anything less than inspired, then I believe that’s a huge indication that the coaches have lost this year’s locker room.””
Has Josh McDaniels lost the Raiders’ locker room?
This conjecture aside, many of the Raiders’ star players have come to the defense of their head coach this year. Now, if those players were saying something different, that’d certainly be a better indicator of the state of the team. So far, they’ve been a united front. What we do know is that McDaniels isn’t going anywhere; it’s unlikely given the amount of support he’s receiving from his general manager and owner. Even so, Fitz’s observation will be something to keep an eye on this Sunday.
*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Boston