Raiders

Kornacki says Raiders 'averted catastrophe' by beating Jets

Raiders
Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow celebrate
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Every Raiders fan watching the game against the New York Jets on Sunday could feel their 2020 season slipping away in the final minutes of the contest.

But in the most outlandish ending, the Raiders pulled off a miracle with a 46-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Derek Carr to rookie Henry Ruggs III with five seconds remaining in regulation.

On the brink of falling to 6-6, the Raiders instead moved to 7-5.

Just how big was Las Vegas' 31-28 win in East Rutherford, NJ?

Let Steve Kornacki, NBC News and MSNBC's National Political Correspondent, explain with help from his trusty touchscreen monitor.

"The Raiders came into today with a 47 percent shot (to make the playoffs)," Kornacki said during NBC's "Football Night In America" on Sunday night. "Now, they took care of business in the end with that miracle and it gets them to a 49 percent shot at making the playoffs. So not a big difference by winning, but really, what this means for the Raiders is it averted catastrophe, because, had they lost, had they not pulled it out in the final seconds, they'd be looking at something like a 10 or 15 percent shot at making the playoffs.

"Instead, they are very much in the mix and it really sets the stage for next week when -- you can see it -- next up for the Raiders, they play the [Indianapolis] Colts ... [The Raiders and Colts] are sitting right on the line in the AFC when it comes to making the playoffs, not making the playoffs. Huge game there next week."

 

So, in a matter of seconds, the Raiders went from possibly a 10-15 percent chance to make the playoffs to 49 percent. That's a massive swing, virtually season-saving.

For the moment, the Raiders are the No. 8 seed in the AFC, one game behind the Colts for the final playoff spot, and half a game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens, who play their Week 13 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday.

If the Raiders had lost to the Jets on Sunday, they would have fallen below the Ravens and would have the same 6-6 record as the New England Patriots.

As Kornacki pointed out, next Sunday's game between the Raiders and Colts (8-4) at Allegiant Stadium has massive AFC playoff implications. A Raiders' win would pull them into a tie with Indianapolis and give them the head-to-head tiebreaker.

But a win by the Colts in Vegas would put the Raiders two games behind Indianapolis with three games remaining.

RELATED: Grades for Raiders' offense, defense in win over Jets

The good news for Las Vegas is that the No. 6-seeded Miami Dolphins (8-4) play the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday. So if the Raiders can beat Indianapolis and get some help from their AFC West rival, they would move into a tie with the two teams currently ahead of them in the standings.

And the Raiders and Dolphins play in Week 16, so in a way, Las Vegas controls its destiny. But they can't look past the Colts, who are coming in off a big road win over the Houston Texans.