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NFL Playoff Picture: Oakland Hurt By Loss To Detroit, Still Chasing AFC West, Wild Card

The Oakland Raiders suffered a heartbreaker of a loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 15 and remained a game off of the pace for the AFC West lead and the AFC Wild Card. The San Diego Chargers won their Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens and are now neck and neck with the Raiders in both chases with an identical 7-7 record.

The good news is that both of the teams that the Raiders are immediately chasing and hoping to overtake for a playoff berth both suffered losses today. The New York Jets were dominated by a Philadelphia Eagles offense that suddenly decided to wake up. Perhaps more importantly, the Denver Broncos had their improbable win streak snapped by the New England Patriots and have come hurtling back to earth.

If the Jets and Broncos could continue to struggle in the last two weeks of the season and the Raiders can manage to cobble together two more wins to wrap up 2011, they would still have a very realistic shot at making it to the postseason. Still, things are much more precarious than anyone would have dreamed at the beginning of the season, when Oakland was running away with the division.

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