Raiders Playoff Picture
It was very much a case of Deja Vu for the Las Vegas Raiders in week 12 of the 2020 NFL season.
Just like last year - when they were thrashed 34-3 by the New York Jets - they suffered an embarrassing 43-6 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons several Sundays back. The result was a worrying one.
After going down to the Jets last season, the Raiders went into a tailspin, losing four of their final five games and surrendering their place in the playoffs in the process. Their failure meant they had failed to reach the postseason stage in 16 of the previous 17 years and fans were not happy.
After the most recent loss to the Falcons, supporters were concerned that a similar thing may happen this time around. Following up this damaging loss with the narrowest of wins over NFL whipping boys, the Jets, has done little to calm these fears. However, do fans need to lighten up a bit? Over the course of this article, we will be considering whether the Raiders can bounce back from the defeat and finally make Nevada famous for more than possessing the best online casinos in the United States
The Current Picture
At the time of writing, the Raiders are just one game back from the seventh placed Indianapolis Colts out in the AFC. In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs have already secured a playoff spot and it would take a miracle for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills not to join them. Currently, the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins make up the rest of the top seven. Behind the Raiders, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots are both one game back.
Next up for the Raiders is their biggest game of the season so far against the Colts, who as we mentioned are one place above them in the standings. A win here would all but put fears of a repeat of last season to bed.
After this, the Raiders travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers and they finish their season with games against the Dolphins and Denver Broncos. It is by no means the easiest run-in - far from it - but in order to reach the playoffs, the Raiders will have to win the majority of these games.
Can they do it?
One thing that the Raiders have in their favour is experience. The roster remains similar to the one that experienced the heartache of last season. The players will be desperate to make amends for this and will also know which mistakes to avoid in order to prevent a repeat.
The Raiders also definitely have enough talent to get over the line. Running back Josh Jacobs has been one of their stars this season, rushing for no less than 782 yards so far - the sixth highest in the league. Quarterback Derek Carr has also been solid. He may not be the most talented QB in the NFL, but he has still managed to pass 3,027 yards this season. Overall, it’s going to be tough, but there’s no reason why the Raiders can’t bounce back.