Oakland Raiders Postseason Scenarios: What Needs to Happen in Week 17?

Currently the Oakland Raiders sit with an 8-7 record, are second in the AFC West behind the Denver Broncos (also 8-7), and are No. 7 in the AFC’s playoff standings.

Ahead of the Raiders in the race for that No. 6 seed are the 9-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

This week the Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens in a meaningful game, since Pittsburgh can still take the AFC North from the Ravens. Cincinnati may have that one game lead on Oakland, however, both are tied with a 3-2 record in common games as well as a 6-5 record in the AFC.

That being said, here’s what needs to happen for Oakland to get in the postseason.


Obviously Win, While Bengals and/or Broncos Lose

Being that the Raiders sit a game back of Cincy but have the same common games and conference record, a win in Week 17 over the Chargers with a Bengals loss to Baltimore automatically slides Oakland into the No. 6 seed.

And if Cincinnati wins however, then the Denver Broncos must lose at home to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tied with Denver at 8-7 in the division, the two teams split their season series, have the same divisional record, but the Broncos have a better record in common games. Therefore, giving Denver the AFC West lead heading into Week 17.

If the Raiders lose, it’s over; period. There’s no scenario any which way you slice or try to divvy it up amongst the final AFC playoff contenders. A loss to the San Diego Chargers prevents The Silver and Black from a chance to play into January.

A win doesn’t guarantee anything either.

Because if both Denver and Cincinnati win along with Oakland, well, the Raiders lose out on the division and the second wild-card slot. Luckily, the Raiders already beat San Diego once and get them at home.

The same game plan will work, as long as turnovers are limited and the D-line gets pressure on QB Philip Rivers.

To that end, it’s simple for the Raiders to make the playoffs and the odds are quite good. Either a Broncos or Bengals loss and they win, that’s it.


Possible Playoff Seeds (Assuming Raiders Win)

A Bengals loss and a Broncos win give Oakland the No. 6 seed and a trip back to Houston to play the Texans (whom they already beat and is banged up).

A Bengals win with a Broncos loss gives Oakland the AFC West. That said, the Raiders would likely host either Baltimore or Pittsburgh as the No. 4 seed.

Now, if the Broncos and Bengals both lose, that automatically puts Oakland into the No. 4 seed and a game against the Steelers in the wild-card round. Since Baltimore swept Pittsburgh, the Steelers can’t win the AFC North without a better record.


Quick Recap

It is imperative that the Raiders win at all costs. Then they need either the Bengals or Broncos to lose, not both, just one of them.

As for their playoff opponent, it will either be the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Or, they will have to travel to Houston once again and face the AFC South champion Texans.


Follow John Rozum on Twitter @ Sportswriter27

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