Raiders face a tough schedule to end the season

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The Raiders have spent the last few days thanking for a win that kept their playoff hopes alive. It happened just when it looked like the season was turning in the wrong direction again.

Now is the time to look to the future.

One of the toughest schedules in the league looms on the horizon, but the upset victory over the Cowboys has dramatically improved the Raiders’ prospects for the playoffs.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the victory improved the Raiders’ chances of making the playoffs, from 9% at a season low to 17% more optimistic.

Their odds of winning the division are only three percent, but both numbers are subject to change if further results fall this weekend.

Sunday will be a good opportunity to look at the scoreboard. Raiders fans can relax in the comfort of Thursday’s win and cheer the downfall of other AFC contenders.

But the bottom line is that the Raiders have to rack up wins to stand any chance, no matter how well other teams perform.

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at the six remaining opponents on the regular season roster.

The Raiders have the ninth toughest schedule remaining in the NFL based on winning percentage. They only play one more match against a team currently under 0.500.

Here’s a more detailed look:

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

â– Site: Allegiant Stadium

â– Game time: 1:05 p.m., Sunday December 5

â– Save: 4-6

â– Last meeting: September 24, 2017 – Washington 27, Raiders 10

â– Scouting Report: Questions about Washington’s entry into the season mostly revolved around being able to muster enough offense to return to the playoffs. Instead, their much-vaunted defense took a massive step backwards and the offense showed signs of life.

Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick picked up an injury early in the season and Taylor Heinicke led the offensive on a roller coaster. The former Old Dominion was efficient in his early starts before putting in a massive effort in a win over Atlanta in early October.

The rest of the month was a horror show, but Heinicke went on the offensive again in November. Terry McLaurin is a dangerous threat to the wide receiver no matter who throws passes to him. Antonio Gibson is a playmaker out of the backfield.

The defense was led by Chase Young, but his disappointing second season ended prematurely when he tore his ACL against the Buccaneers.

â– Line of bets: Raiders -1.5, total 47.5

HEADS OF KANSAS CITY

â– Site: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

â– Game time: 10 a.m., Sunday 12 December

â– Save: 7-4

â– Last meeting: November 14 – Chiefs 41, Raiders 14

â– Scouting Report: Before their first meeting with the Raiders, one wondered if the Chiefs were broken. Those questions all but disappeared in a four-game winning streak. That streak of success was actually marked by a defense allowing less than 12 points per game during that span, a dramatic difference from the start of the season when the unit was giving yards at a record pace.

Of course, the offense is always the identity of the leaders. Patrick Mahomes has adapted to the way the teams defend him. The result was more efficient performances that got the Chiefs rolling again.

FiveThirtyEight now gives Kansas City a 53% chance of winning the AFC West.

â– Line of bets: Heads -9.5, Total 54

BRUNS DE CLEVELAND

â– Site: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland

â– Game time: 1:30 p.m., Saturday December 18

â– Save: 6-5

â– Last meeting: November 1, 2020 – Raiders 16, Browns 6

â– Scouting Report: A December game on the shores of Lake Erie offers a real possibility of bad weather. It could even be a repeat of last year’s lousy game that taught Raiders fans the word graupel, a gentle hail that wreaked havoc in the 2020 game.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been extremely inconsistent as he tried to tackle a shoulder injury that will likely require attention after the season. The Browns remain at the heart of the playoff race with strength in their defense and running game, led by star fullback Nick Chubb.

â– Line of bets: Browns -4.5, total 45

DENVER BRONCOS

â– Site: Allegiant Stadium

â– Game time: 1:25 p.m., Sunday December 26

â– Save: 5-5

â– Last meeting: October 17 – Raiders 34, Broncos 24

â– Scouting Report: Denver enters the AFC West home game on Sunday against the Chargers in last place, but is still hoping to make the playoffs late in the season. They stayed in the race despite trading defensive star and crew chief Von Miller to the Rams.

Denver has been a difficult team to understand. After back-to-back wins over Washington and Dallas, the Broncos were eliminated at home by Philadelphia before their week off. It is difficult to predict where they will be as Christmas approaches.

If they fall out of the race, it’s possible that Drew Lock will return to quarterback and some of the young players on the squad will have more reps. Either way, they’re a team with a ton of pass-detection weapons and a potential star making a comeback in rookie Javonte Williams.

â– Line of bets: Raiders -2, Total 44.5

INDIANAPOLIS CHICKENS

â– Site: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

â– Game time: 10 a.m., Sunday January 2

â– Save: 6-5

â– Last meeting: December 13, 2020 – Colts 44, Raiders 27

â– Scouting Report: The Colts have already gotten to grips with Carson Wentz’s full experience. He’ll follow a free-falling left hand interception with a tight window penny for a long touchdown. There has been a lot more good than bad recently.

After a 1-4 start, the Colts have won five of their last six games and appear to be one of the best teams in the AFC. Running back Jonathan Taylor is a legitimate MVP contender and one of the best offensive players in the league. He’s eclipsed 100 scrum yards and scored at least one touchdown in eight straight games, hitting the end zone multiple times in four of them.

â– Line of bets: Foals -7, Total 47.5

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

â– Site: Allegiant Stadium

â– Game time: 1:25 p.m., Sunday January 9

â– Save: 6-4

â– Last meeting: October 4 – Chargers 28, Raiders 14

â– Scouting Report: The season ends with a renewed rivalry at the Allegiant Stadium. Quarterback Justin Herbert is one of the brightest young talents in the AFC, although either by his choice or by design of the attack he has been quite conservative this season.

The offense is, however, very capable of breaking out at any time, as the Steelers learned last week. There are plenty of playmakers on defense as well, although the unit has been absolutely appalling against the run all season.

This match still has the potential to be wild, but this one could have massive ramifications for one or both teams. Circle this one on the calendar.

â– Line of bets: Chargers -3, Total 52.5

Contact Adam Hill at [email protected] To follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.



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