Oakland Raiders Could Finally Return to NFL Relevance with Win over Jets

Don't look now, but the Oakland Raiders aren't a punchline anymore.

No, really. They aren't.

For most of the past decade, there hasn't been a more floundering, directionless team in the National Football League than the Raiders. But in 2015, under the direction of first-year head coach Jack Del Rio and with young playmakers on both sides of the ball, with a win over the New York Jets at home in Week 8 the Raiders could take a big step toward—and I can't believe I'm saying this—the playoffs.

After dismantling the Chargers in San Diego in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated in Week 7, the Raiders are 3-3 for the only the second time since 2002—the last time the Raiders made the postseason.

And plenty of people, including Adam Schein of NFL.com, are taking notice:

Oakland has a real football team. And it is pretty fantastic for Raider Nation and the NFL. I expected the Raiders to beat San Diego because they are the better team. That's a significant statement in isolation. Oakland crushed the Chargers, simply humiliated and humbled them. The 37-29 final score doesn't do it justice. It was 30-6 Oakland at the half.

Back in August, I anticipated the Raiders would return to respectability; at 3-3, they certainly haven't disappointed. While I don't think this team is quite ready to make the playoffs, I see Oakland being in the mix all season. Jack Del Rio has changed the culture. The Raiders ooze young talent. It's fun to watch.

Yes, I just said the Raiders are "fun to watch." It's a new day indeed!

Honestly, when is the last time the Raiders were on the right side of a 30-6 halftime score?

That win snapped a two-game skid and was only the Raiders' second win in the past 13 seasons coming out of the bye week. Take away a fourth quarter in which the Chargers outscored Oakland 23-0 after the game was decided, and it ...

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