CLEVELAND — Back in August it wasn’t automatic that Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns would be circled as must-see and critical to the Raiders’ playoff hopes.
But that was before the Browns won five of their first seven games to set themselves up as playoff contenders. The Raiders (3-3) also fancy themselves the same way, which makes their trip to Cleveland much more important than originally assumed.
With each team eyeing one of the three wild-card spots in the NFL’s expanded conference playoff format, the Raiders can’t let the Browns move too far out in front of them.
A successful weekend in Northeast Ohio adverts that possibility. Winning will come down to the Raiders adequately managing some important matchups.
Here are three to watch: