Oakland Raiders: Chiefs Game Is Now Irrelevant


A few weeks back, the Oakland Raiders 2015 finale against the Kansas City Chiefs looked to be a very significant match-up with potential huge playoff implications.

Oakland had just beaten Denver to move to 6-7 and appeared to have momentum for a post season push while the Chiefs were on a major win streak, having won 7 straight. It was even possible the week 17 game could be a “win and in” scenario.

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Now, three weeks later, the Oakland Raiders have very little to play for.

After that week 14 win against Denver, the Raiders lost a key game versus Green Bay at home while Kansas city has gone on to win the last two games, extending their streak to 9 straight. While this game still could mean a lot for the Chiefs, the Raiders are both looking forward to next season and looking back wondering what could have been in 2015.

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The Raiders have shown they are a team on the rise and could make a lot of noise in 2016, but sadly 2015 will go down as another year without a playoff appearance. Every Oakland Raider fan knows the streak well: Per profootballrefernce.com, the silver and black have now missed the playoffs for 13 years in a row.

Sunday’s divisional rivalry game against the Chiefs has been flexed from the morning 10 AM PST time slot to 1:25 PST one, presumably to add drama as both the Chiefs and Broncos will be now playing at the same time with a chance to win the division.

For the Raiders, however, a win against the Chiefs might only mean another rival wins the AFC West. Normally, you would expect Oakland to be up for this game: A chance to cripple the Chiefs position in the playoffs. But the Raiders have to realize that beating Kansas City just helps out another sworn enemy in Denver. Where’s the motivation?

Sure, it’s future H.O.F. Charles Woodson’s last game, and the Raiders want to send him out with a win. But they already gave him a glorious send off last week against the Chargers complete with a tear jerking speech by Woodson to the crowd after the game. Using the same motivation this Sunday would seem disingenuous and forced.

Sadly, the game in Oakland’s case has become completely irrelevant. You might be able to argue that since they are sitting at 7-8 a win would be a moral victory, as the Raiders would finish the season at .500 or better for the first time in 4 years. But that didn’t seem to matter much in 2012 after they accomplished that record in 2011. All a win does Sunday is worsen their draft position slightly, which is never a good thing.

While rooting for a loss this weekend is out of the question, Sunday’s game against the Chiefs feels a lot like a pre-season match-up: A game in which a win or loss means nothing going forward for the season and possibly a chance to see some bench players shine.

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2016 looks  like an exciting year for the Raiders. 2015, more specifically week 17 of 2015, is of zero importance now for Oakland.