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Oakland Raiders and the Playoff picture: Clear as mud?

With Oakland's loss to the Steelers and the refs, the Raiders' path to the post-season just got a lot more creative.

Looking at the numbers, Oakland has two ways to win the AFC West, or with a combination of wins, hope to get into position for a playoff berth. Regarding the first option, Oakland would need to win out, including a season-ended win on the road in Kansas City. Not exactly the best option, considering Kansas City is presently perfect at home.

The second way to win the west, is hoping that somewhere in Kansas City's schedule, the Chiefs pick up two more losses, making the game a moot point. Looking at their last six games, with Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Tennesee, St. Louis and Oakland, there's a good chance if anything hits them hard, it's the games against San Diego and Denver...nothing boils the blood like a division grudge match.

Likewise, with San Diego's win over Denver, San Diego is trying to overtake the Raiders, who have one more matchup in two weeks, this time in San Diego. As far as the Raiders are concerned, if the Raiders can avoid the same refs that botched the Pitt game, they should be ok. San Diego's two biggest problems has been the injury bug, witnessed by three starters out early for their monday night matchup. However it also shows just how bad things are in Denver, when you didn't notice a slump in their production.

For the Raiders, the number one key, is going to be the tiebreaker effect, should Oakland, KC and San Diego finish out tied. For one, right now everyone in the division is 1-2 while the Raiders are 3-0. Likewise, every team that has played on the road has managed just a single win, meaning whoever can play their best at home, should have a time of it.

Kansas City has their perfect record at home, but it would be interesting to see how they do against SD and Oakland.

For the second half of the idea, let's look at who's sitting at 5-5 or above:

Dolphins 5-5

Titans 5-5

Colts 6-4

Steelers 7-3

Patriots 8-2

And that isn't counting the teams leading respective divisions. Right now, Oakland would lose on tiebreakers to the Titans, and Steelers, while matchups are ahead with the Colts and Dolphins. Should Oakland manage to get up to 10 wins for the post season and not overtake KC or San Diego, they still might miss the playoffs...the Patriots and the Steelers might do that.

Right now as it stands....Oakland needs the AFC West title for the playoffs....and unless they run the table, it might not happen.


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