Oakland Raiders: Sometimes Divisional Dominance Just Isn’t Enough

The Raiders hold a perfect 5-0 record against their divisional rivals out-scoring them 184 to 97 and are looking to make it a perfect 6-0 with a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17.

And as I'm sure you know, the Raiders are no longer playing for a spot in the playoffs, while the Chiefs are.

For both teams, this game means almost nothing. The Raiders are playing for bragging rights and the Chiefs may or may not be playing to hold onto the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

Strangely, even if the Raiders sweep the division, they will not make the playoffs. Hell, if the Chargers beat the Broncos next week, the Raiders can sweep the division placing third in a four team division.

I'm not sure if that has ever happened in the history of the NFL.

In order to discover what went wrong, look no further than the Raiders non divisional opponents. The Raiders went 2-8 against teams outside of the AFC West. Out of those eight teams that the Raiders lost to, only three have a winning record.

The Raiders suffered losses to teams they should have beat, like the 5-10 San Francisco 49ers, the 5-10 Arizona Cardinals, the 5-10 Houston Texans and the 6-9 Tennessee Titans.

Were the Raiders simply not prepared for for these teams? Did they overemphasize preparation for division rivals, while neglecting preparation for other teams? Or did they simply just play down to the ability of lesser teams?

Assuming the Raiders simply weren't prepared or played down to inferior opponents, who is to blame? Do you blame the head coach for not motivating his team to win week in and week out? 

Or do you blame the coordinators, Hue Jackson and John Marshall, for not properly preparing their respective units each week?

Or do you blame the players for not executing on a consistent basis?

Legitimate arguments can be made for all of the above, but I personally ...

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