Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden not dead yet going into Week 17

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders still have a chance to punch their ticket into the playoffs this year, although it won’t be easy and they’ll need plenty of help.

Oakland Raiders fans scratched their heads on Monday morning after finding out they have a chance of making the playoffs, despite going into Week 17 at 7-8. After beating the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders received some help from across the league that kept them in the playoff race.

In Week 17, they’ll also need a little help but, most importantly, the Raiders need to beat another division rival, the Denver Broncos. Of course, the possibility of making the postseason is a divisive topic among fans as some want the season to just be over while others want to see the team play one or two more times in Oakland.

Some Raiders fans have expressed that they would rather this team not head to the playoffs and instead focus on offseason additions in addition to their draft picks. While I understand focusing on offseason acquisitions and rebuilding, head coach Jon Gruden isn’t the type to turn down an opportunity at success.

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Other fans are worried that Oakland will lose in the first round and it would have all been for nothing. Of course, just as a reminder to those fans, the Raiders were the first Wild Card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl. Just because Oakland doesn’t seem like they can win it all doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

A few things still need to go Oakland’s way on Sunday before we can start counting chickens, however. First, they need a win against the Broncos, a team coming off of a 27-17 victory over the Detroit Lions. The Raiders won their Week 1 meeting with Denver but will be facing rookie Drew Lock instead of Joe Flacco, who has improved the offense for the most part.

The Raiders, with a lackluster secondary, will also have to account for Courtland Sutton, who had seven receptions for 120 yards against Oakland in Week 1. By no means is this an easy game for Oakland to win. However, if Derek Carr can sustain drives and the Raiders secondary can hold up, they just might have a shot.

Even if the Raiders beat the Broncos they’ll still need help from some remaining members in the AFC.

Beyond winning their own matchup, the Raiders need the Tennessee Titans to lose to the Houston Texans, which isn’t that far-fetched. Bill O’Brien‘s club can improve their playoff seeding with a win and the right scenario playing out. However, Oakland also needs the Colts to beat the Jaguars. On top of that, however, they need the Steelers to lose to the Ravens while Baltimore rests their starters.

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Although some of these situations sound unlikely, they’ve happened multiple times throughout NFL history and always make for entertaining games. Gruden is chomping at the bit to get back into the playoffs and a playoff run is exactly what the Raiders need to get everyone excited for 2020.