Although the Oakland Raiders have a two-and-half game edge on their Bay Area counterparts, the struggling San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco has a better chance at winning their division than Oakland does of even getting to the postseason. Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders breaks down the formidable tests ahead for the Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders story is swell and all, but when you look at the schedules it becomes clear how difficult it will be for them to get past Kansas City -- and stay ahead of San Diego -- to win the division. The Raiders still have to play at Kansas City and at San Diego. Their other five games include Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Miami, plus the inscrutable Jaguars, who honestly could beat Oakland 45-0 or lose to Oakland 45-0. Neither result would really surprise me.
You can check out the playoff odds here. Apparently Oakland has only an 11% chance of winning the AFC West and a meager five to six percent shot at capturing a wild-card bid. The trouble with the wildcard is that the AFC East has the New England Patriots and New York Jets tied at 6-2, while the AFC North has the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens tied at 6-2. It's very likely that the runners-up of both divisions will end up taking the final two spots.
Thus it seems Oakland's best shot of getting to January is to win the division, making their trips to Arrowhead and Qualcomm virtual must-wins. Raider Nation might be alive and well right now, but can they sustain their success when they enter the meat of their schedule?