The Oakland Raiders don’t deserve to make the playoffs. You know it and I know it. One could argue the Titans or Steelers deserve to make the playoffs more considering what they’ve done with all the issues at quarterback. Plus, they’re playing in tougher divisions.
It might have been a different story if the Raiders had won four straight by beating the Jaguars and Titans. That would be a different story because Oakland would be hot and peaking at the right time. I might even believe in the team had they found ways to beat NFC contenders like the Vikings or Packers. Maybe even closing out that game versus the Texans would be cause for thinking this team can do something in the playoffs. Shoot, I’d take even competing with the Chiefs in one of the two games we played them. However, making the playoffs because a bunch of people lost is not ideal. Beating the irrelevant Broncos and Chargers isn’t reason enough to make the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy beating the Bolts as much as the Donkeys. However, we all know the Raiders don’t stand a puncher’s chance in the playoffs. Why sell ourselves on false hope? Yes, I get it. It’s a new season and anything can happen. However, the Raiders are 28th in point in point differential, just above a Jags team they beat and a few spots below the Jets they got smoked by. Even the Lions, Bears, Chargers and Broncos are ahead of the Raiders in this category. The closest playoff team to them is the Steelers, Colts or Browns if you count them. The rest of the playoff teams are in the top portion of this category. The point is, the Raiders lose big and barely win. They’re only a few close wins away from being the Redskins, Bengals or Dolphins.
Bruised and Battered
Don’t forget the injuries the Raiders have upfront. Four of their five starting linemen are on the injury report. Two of their three top running backs are on there too. Plus, the injuries in the secondary and linebacker corps. Thus, there’s no telling if the Raiders would even be able to compete versus the Texans or Chiefs who have both been playing better lately should they matchup with them on Wild Card weekend.
Then, you factor in our inconsistencies at quarterback and receiver, it’s hard to see this team really competing in the playoffs. So, if they don’t have a real shot, why even bother showing up?
Normal Reply and Reaction
“But Pete, the Raiders making the playoffs would be a step in the right direction. It would help them build a culture and give Oakland one more playoff run before they leave for Vegas. It’s only been one time in 17 years.”
That’s cool ,except it is called a commitment to excellence, not a commitment to showing up. It’s just Win Baby! Not Just get in Baby! They don’t need to teach young players that sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Getting into the playoffs would only cloud the fact that this team still needs a lot of work top to bottom. Especially at the top as it seems Derek Carr is on his way out.
Remember those Bills teams and Dolphins teams that made the playoffs two and three years ago? Exactly, you don’t. That’s because they snuck into the playoffs. They knew Tyrod Taylor wasn’t the answer. They knew Ryan Tannehill wasn’t the answer. Each made no noise in the playoffs. All they did was prolong the inevitable which was they needed to find an elite quarterback before they had any shot at contention.
Again, I want the Raiders to beat the Broncos this week. 4-2 in the division is something for young players to rally on. But, a blowout loss to the Chiefs, Texans or Pats Wild Card Weekend? Nah, I’m good. I hear you though RaiderNation. You want one more shot at the Super Bowl and I don’t blame you. However, you play to win the game and if the Raiders can’t win, why even risk it? Why not get a higher draft pick by missing the playoffs? Why give the team one more reason to keep Carr or Guenther or the bad players on defense?
The best case scenario is the Raiders win Sunday and one of the four things they need to happen does not happen. Oakland doesn’t need to make the playoffs to build on a season where they surprised a lot of people and developed some talent.
Missing the playoffs by a game or tie breaker might actually be exactly what the team needs to head into the offseason with a chip on their shoulder but still enough flexibility to make the hard changes needed… cough quarterback… to build a winning contender.
As much as I would love one more game to watch for Oakland, the Raiders making the playoffs would be a farce. I really don’t need one more blowout loss to ruin my week and raise my blood pressure. None of us need one more glimmer of false hope with this playoff talk. I’m cool with the Raiders beating the Broncos and not making the playoffs. Also, I’m cool with helping our draft pick and not letting our young players confidence get shot with a blowout L on Wild Card Weekend. Besides, the Ravens need to beat the Steelers for Oakland to have any shot anyways. Baltimore plans on resting their starters, so it would be really surprising if they beat a Pittsburgh team playing for their season.