Stayin' alive. The Raiders did just that Sunday with a win over Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to go 5-0 in the division.
The Chiefs and Chargers won, meaning the #Raiders need a lot of help to get to the postseason. Specifically, the Raiders need a Chiefs loss in week 16 and a Chargers loss in either week 16 or 17 as well as winning the next two games. Raiders must beat Peyton Manning and the Colts and the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Raiders must take care of business and they need help from the Denver Broncos or Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans.
There is a reality check here. The Raiders need a ton of help from subpar teams. The postseason may well have been thrown out the window with the Raiders loss in Jacksonville or any of the other regrettable defeats the Raiders suffered this season. The team just wasn't quite there, but the team is bearing late season fruit and the harvest conditions are favorable for 2011.
With the playoffs simply a pipe dream, there is a reason to be optimistic. The Raiders have several rookies that are keepers and they avoided a 10-loss season.
In fact, the Raiders could win the next two and still miss the postseason at 9-7. The Raiders are 7-7 and before the season the realistic expectation was between 7 and 9 wins. Expectations have been met.
The offense has been better than expected. The defense has been slightly worse in some areas, but the fan sentiment remains overwhelmingly positive.
The Raiders could also benefit from a third place schedule in 2011 should the standing hold up. This bodes well for the continued resurgence in 2011.
Prior to kickoff on Sunday, the Raiders will know if their playoff hopes are alive, but don't be surprised if Tom Cable hides that information from his team until after the game. An eighth win could solidify Cable's job for another year.
Peyton Manning presents an unfamiliar challenge for the Raiders, one for which they will need a healthy Nnamdi Asomugha and Richard Seymour. Both of which remain a big question heading into week 16.
Before this digresses into a full blown season review, the focus should remain on the next opponent.
The Raiders certainly could use fan support on Sunday, so buy your tickets to (perhaps) the final home game of the season. Use the link at right to find tickets and view valuable ticket buying information. It is a great service and using it helps support your humble blogger.