For the better part of the 2000’s, the Oakland Raiders have been the laughing stock of the NFL. Poor drafts, quarterback instability and incompetent coaching and management, just to name a few flaws. With their 34-31 win over the San Diego Chargers yesterday, the Raiders, now 4-1, have finally thrust themselves back into the playoff conversation and a chance to win the AFC West.
The Raiders now have a solid starting quarterback in Derek Carr (two TD’s and 317 passing yards), a big-play receiver in Amari Cooper (one TD, 138 receiving yards), but their defense still needs work and currently ranks last in the NFL in terms of total defense. The way I see it, this week starts their season with a game against Kansas City, followed by November 1 and January 1 matches against the Denver Broncos as well as a Monday night showdown against the AFC South-leading Houston Texans.
The Oakland Raiders are a playoff team as of today, and have a favorable-enough schedule to win 6 or 7 more games down the stretch. If their defense can limit the big plays, they certainly can challenge for a division title and contend with the elite teams in the AFC.