What the Raiders Win Over the Jets Means for the AFC Playoff Race
Elias Trejo – Nov 1, 2015
The Oakland Raiders beat the Jets on Sunday to get their second win in a row. With their win and the Steelers loss the Raiders now hold the 5th spot in the AFC Playoff race. Oakland travels to Pittsburgh next week in a game that could very well all but lock up a playoff spot for the Raiders. While some may refuse to admit what's happening, it's apparent that the Raiders are a real contender for a playoff spot and they should be favored to get one of the two spots.
Getting the 5th seed in the AFC would be ideal for the Raiders because that would give them a wild card game against the winner of the AFC South. RIght now that's looking like it's going to be the Indianapolis Colts. Oakland would be much better off facing the Colts in a dome over playing a team like the Bengals, Patiots or Broncos at their home. The AFC South is weak and the Colts don't look very impressive to start the season.
The Raiders at 4-3 could take complete control of control of the AFC Wild Card race if they beat the 4-4 Steelers. They would have wins over the two teams most likely to be in the playoff race as the season come to an end. Wins over both of them will give them the tie breaker advantage so even if they have the same record the Raiders will be ahead of both Steelers and Jets in the Standings.
The Jets play the Jaguars, Bills and Texans in the following three weeks and those should be wins, but the Jets left Oakland with injuries to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. The Raiders are a much bigger, stronger and faster team than they've been in previous years and it showed as they manhandled New York on Sunday.
The Jets dominant defense was not able to record a sack and Latavius Murray ran for 118 yards against the best rush defense in the league. It's time to take the Raiders seriously as they physically dominated the Jets in every aspect of the game. On the first play of the game for the Raiders offense went deep against Darrelle Revis showing they were not about to back down and they weren't scared.
Fitzpatrick left the game early as he was taken out of the game after Charles Woodson hit him during a scramble play. Speaking of Woodson, he recorded his league leading 5th interception of the year. The 39 year old keeps making plays and doesn't appear to be slowing down and it's rubbing off on the rest of the defense. Oakland held Chris Ivory to 17 yards on 15 carries and they were able to keep the Jets in check late in the second half.
The Raiders have set themselves up pretty well to go on a run to finish the season. With nine games left the raiders need to win at least four games. The way the AFC is playing out it looks like eight wins could get you into the 6th spot in the AFC. The Steelers and Jets look to be the two AFC teams besides the Raiders to possibly win 8 maybe 9 games. However, the Raiders should also have their eyes on the division title. It's within reach and getting close enough to win it could lock them down for a playoff spot.
The Texans, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bills are the only other teams in the AFC with three wins. They would have to win five games in order to finish with 8 wins and that doesn't seem likely the way they are playing now. That of course could change but right now things are looking to be going in the Raiders favor.
The Steelers are banged up and have lost Le'Veon Bell for the season after their loss to the Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger did not look great or healthy in their loss either. Meanwhile the Raiders are getting healthier and getting key players back. This could very well be the year that the Raiders end their playoff drought.
The Raiders have an explosive offense that has scored over 25 points in five of their seven games so far this year. They are led by Derek Carr who has 15 Touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Their offensive line is one of the best in the league and there are plenty of weapons on offense.
We saw explosive plays today from Andre Holmes and Taiwan Jones and a great touchdown by Michael Crabtree. Murray dominated the Jets as he has now rushed for 534 yards this season averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Amari Cooper had five catches and has had four or more catches in each of his first seven games. This Raiders offense will most likely have two 1,000 yard receivers and a 1,000 yard rusher for the first time in franchise history.
The Raiders are for real and should be the favorites to grab that 5th seed in the AFC.
For more on the Raiders follow me on Twitter: @Elias_trejo
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