Dream Season for Injury-Ravaged Raiders Headed for Nightmare Finish

At first glance, fans of the Oakland Raiders seemingly have plenty to be happy about. Despite falling 24-6 on the road to the Denver Broncos in Week 17, the Raiders are a 12-win team headed to the playoffs for the first time sine 2002.

But look a little closer and the smiles quickly fade. After spending most of the season looking like Super Bowl contenders, the Raiders now appear destined for a quick exit from the postseason.

Because Oakland is literally limping into the playoffs at the most important position in the game.

Over the first half of the 2016 campaign, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr led one of the NFL's most potent offenses. Carr wasn't just a vastly improved third-year pro. He was a legitimate MVP candidate for the first-place Raiders.

Even after Carr suffered an injury to the thumb on his throwing hand, the Raiders kept winning. His numbers were down, but the only number that matters stayed in Oakland's favor. He was bruised a bit but played on.

However, while Carr toughed it out through a busted finger, there was no playing through the broken fibula he suffered against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16.

Oakland was still able to defeat the Colts, but much of the wind came out of the Raiders' sails as they prepared for the season finale against the Broncos. With a victory in that game, the Raiders would clinch their division and earn the AFC's No. 2 seed.

Backup quarterback Matt McGloin told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press earlier this week that he was confident he could lead the Raiders to a win that would earn them a week off and at least one playoff game at home:

It's exciting. This is the position you want to be in. This is why you spend so much time trying to master your craft and why you put so much time in the weight room, in the film room and on the practice field, is for games like this, moments like this.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Oakland Raiders