Raiders still in NFL playoff race but must beat Titans to stay there

Raiders still in NFL playoff race but must beat Titans to stay there

The Raiders suffered a massive setback Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

There’s no sugarcoating the impact that 40-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs had on AFC West title hopes. A win would’ve pulled the Raiders even atop the division. A loss put the Raiders two games back with four to play.

Not ideal, but all is not lost. Not in a so-so AFC with several teams still battling for the final wild-card spot.

The Raiders are one of them, even at 6-6 coming off of two straight blowout losses. The Raiders currently are a game back of the last wild card spot, with Pittsburgh and Tennessee sitting at 7-5.

The Raiders can pull ahead of the Titans by beating them Sunday at Oakland Coliseum, where the Silver and Black are 4-1 this season.

They would have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Titans with winnable games against Jaguars, Chargers and Broncos, a series of 4-8 teams without a realistic shot at the postseason. Apathy or disappointment may kick in for those teams down the stretch, and the Raiders could capitalize with a solid run to finish the season.

They do need help from the Steelers, who currently own a tiebreaker over the Raiders with a better conference record. There are two potential losses on the Steelers schedule, with the Bills coming up in two weeks and the Ravens to wrap the regular season.

The Raiders have to go on a winning streak for any of that to matter. It needs to happen now starting with the Titans on Sunday. A loss there would be a staggering blow and certainly call for a standing eight-count.

That means the Raiders have to rebound quickly.

“I don’t think that’s our issue,” center Rodney Hudson said after the Chiefs loss. “We work hard. We practice the right way. We just didn’t make the plays today.”

The Raiders have scuffled offensively in recent games, going nine quarters between touchdowns. That’s a significant drought for a team that scored at least 24 points in six straight games earlier this season.

The Raiders defense played pretty well against Kansas City, keeping Patrick Mahomes under 200 yards passing while limiting him to just one explosive play.

Better is required in every phase because the Raiders can’t beat anybody while incurring the penalties and turnovers they’ve sustained over the past two games.

Players clearly know where they stand in the division and the wild-card race. They know hope is not lost, with their postseason goals still before them even after that Chiefs defeat.

[RELATED: Jacobs vows to get Raiders 'right' after Chiefs loss]

Head coach Jon Gruden doesn’t dangle that carrot to motivate his team, especially with the Raiders needing help from the Steelers or an unexpected Chiefs collapse to earn their way in.

“We’re going to focus on the Titans,” Gruden said. “We can’t control who’s playing who and what the scores are in other places. We have to control the things we can control. That’s minimizing pre-snap penalties and eliminating after-the-whistle penalties and winning the turnover battle. We can control how we prepare and how we compete.

“We would love to make the playoffs. We would love to win a championship. That’s out of our control right now.”

Doug Marrone, Jaguars preparing for Raiders in emotional Oakland finale


Doug Marrone, Jaguars preparing for Raiders in emotional Oakland finale

ALAMEDA -- Sunday won't be an ordinary Week 15 game between two teams that have dropped out of playoff contention. 

The Coliseum will be rocking as those who bleed silver and black say their final farewell to the Raiders when they take on the 4-9 Jacksonville Jaguars. Most of the young Jaguars haven't played in the Coliseum, but head coach Doug Marrone is well aware of what his scuffling team will face Sunday afternoon. 

"Absolutely. I think that, we kind of polled today, we don’t have a lot of players that have played at Oakland and we tried to give them a sense of ... and when I say crazy atmosphere, I mean that in a very positive sense," Marrone said on a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "We talked about the locker room and we’ve talked about it. I think it will be an emotional day for a lot of people there and I had a good relationship with Mr. [Al] Davis. When I was the head coach at Syracuse, we’d meet every year and there will be a lot of emotion knowing that finally, I know last year they went through it a little bit, but the finality of it being the last game for sure." 

Marrone was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders out of Davis' alma mater Syracuse in 1986. He didn't make the 53-man roster and never donned the Silver and Black inside the Coliseum. Despite never being a Raider, Marrone had a good relationship with late owner Al Davis and came to the Coliseum as an offensive line coach for the New York Jets in the early 2000s. 

Even for Marrone, it will be weird for the Raiders to no longer call the Coliseum home. 

"When I was with the Jets and we would go out there, we’d always warm-up and I had the offensive line with me and I had a bunch of veteran guys who we’d warm up in the one corner of the end zone and for some reason, there was one guy, he was all over me," Marrone said recalling his time as a visitor in the Coliseum. "Like he was killing me, not the players, me. And the players would come up to me and go, ‘Coach, you going to take that (expletive) from that guy? Like, if he did that (expletive) to me, I would go up in the stands. You need to go up in the stands, you need to confront that.’ And I’d be like, ‘Shut the hell up, would you? We’re just going to go ahead and play.’

"But I just remember those times and the playoff game up there when I was in New York and just how crazy it can be and it’s a special place. I remember going up there back in the day and you look over at pregame warmup and Mr. Davis would be down on the sideline. A lot of the old Raiders would be there and so I think for me there will be a point I think, ‘Wow! I can’t believe the Oakland Raiders are moving.’”

[RELATED: Raiders describe what it's like to jump into Black Hole]

After three consecutive losses, the Raiders no longer find themselves in the playoff hunt. There will be no playoff goodbye for the hallowed grounds that hold so many Raider memories. 

Jon Gruden, Derek Carr and these Raiders have but one more chance to give those who love the Raiders so dearly a final memory of a building and franchise that means so much to them. 

That's bad news for Marrone and the Jags. 

Raiders injury report: Josh Jacobs limited ahead of Jaguars game


Raiders injury report: Josh Jacobs limited ahead of Jaguars game

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' offense was ineffective in last Sunday's 42-21 loss to the Titans without running back Josh Jacobs. 

The rookie sensation has a fractured shoulder and was unable to go despite giving an emotional plea to play prior to kick-off. Jacobs underwent an MRI on Monday and the results reportedly were better than expected, meaning Jacobs supposedly could give it a go in the finale at the Coliseum on Sunday against the Jaguars. 

Jacobs was cleared to practice Wednesday when the Raiders held their normal mid-week walkthrough. Jacobs officially was listed as limited in Wednesday's estimation and he will have to clear some hurdles in order to get the thumbs up to go Sunday. 

"I just listen to the medical and Josh," Gruden said Wednesday. "He'll still have to go out there and move explosively tomorrow, Friday and do the things that a running back has to do to play in this league and protect himself in this league. We'll see what happens in the next 48 hours."

Right tackle Trent Brown, who missed the loss to the Titans with a pectoral injury, did not participate Wednesday and Gruden is not sure if he will be able to play against the Jaguars. 

[RELATED: Raiders players share what it's like to jump in Black Hole]

Here is the Raiders' injury report from Wednesday's walkthrough: 

Did not participate
OT Trent Brown (pectoral)
CB Daryl Worley (neck)
WR Hunter Renfrow (rib)
LB Marquel Lee (toe)
LB Kyle Wilber (ankle)

RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder)
DB Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
G Gabe Jackson (knee)