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NFL Playoff Picture: Raiders' Path To The AFC Wild Card

Anyway you look at it right now, the Raiders are two games out of the Playoffs, with four games to go. We already looked at the division race and now we will zoom in on the AFC Wild Card. The 6-6 Raiders trail the 8-4 Baltimore Ravens for the second and final Wild Card spot.

The Jets currently sit in the first wild card spot at 9-3. This means that it will only take the Jets one win to guarantee that they are in at least a tie-breaking scenario for the Wild Card and two wins to clinch the postseason. In other words, it would take a total collapse for them to not make it. After last Monday Night’s 45-3 embarrassment to the Patriots, a total collapse doesn’t seem as unlikely as it once did.

It becomes an even more likely possibility when looking at their upcoming schedule. This Week the Jets will host the 6-6 Miami Dolphins. The Jets have already beaten the Dolphins, 31-23 at Miami in Week Three, but—for whatever reason—the Dolphins are playing much better on the road. This will be a tough game for the suddenly struggling Jets.

Things do not get any easier for the Jets. Following the Dolphins game, they travel to take on the 8-4 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 9-3 Chicago Bears. They will then return home to take on the 2-10 Buffalo Bills in a game that very well may be for their playoff lives.

If the Jets do not collapse, the Raiders will be hoping that the Baltimore Ravens do. The Ravens will travel to take on the slumping 5-7 Texans next week. The Texans have lost five of their last six games and they will need a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. To close out the season, the Ravens will host the 9-3 New Orleans Saints, travel to the 5-7 Cleveland Browns and close out at home against the 2-10 Cincinnati Bengals. Again, the Raiders will need them to lose at least two of these games.

With a Thursday Night Week 14 victory the Indianapolis Colts slid ahead of the 6-6 Wild Card hopefuls. The Colts improved to 7-6 and will sit back, and closely watch the Raiders-Jaguars contest. Not only are the Colts a half a game behind the Jaguars, but the Jaguars and Raiders are the Colts next two opponents.

Joining the Raiders at 6-6 in the AFC are the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins. The Chargers will host the 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs in a matchup we previewed below while looking at the AFC West and the Dolphins, as was mentioned above, will travel to New York to battle the Jets.

Joining the Houston Texans at 5-7 are the Cleveland Browns will be eliminated with a loss and Baltimore Ravens’ victory. The Browns will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.