Cincinnati Bengals

NFL playoff picture: How Raiders can grab AFC wild-card spot in Week 17

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NFL playoff picture: How Raiders can grab AFC wild-card spot in Week 17

They. Aren't. Dead. Yet.

That's right, folks: Your Raiders still are breathing in the quest for the final AFC wild-card spot.

Four straight losses to the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars put the Silver and Black on life support, entering Week 16 with around a 1 percent chance to make the postseason.

The Raiders needed the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and the Jets all to win in order for them to stay alive. All four of those teams came through Sunday, and the Raiders also did their part, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Jon Gruden's club will head to Denver in Week 17 needing to beat the Broncos and hope for the rest of the chips to fall their way.

Along with a win over the Broncos, the Raiders need:

-- The Houston Texans to beat the Tennessee Titans

-- The Ravens to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers

-- The Colts to beat the Jaguars

-- The New England Patriots, Chicago Bears or Detroit Lions to win.

So you're saying there's a chance?

[RELATED: End of the road? Gruden reportedly could move on from Carr]

It seems unlikely, but to quote a famed galatic smuggler and war hero: "Never tell me the odds."

Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

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Raiders rookie Maxx Crosby named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

The Raiders had three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but they might have found the steal of the three-day event in Round 4. 

Defensive end Maxx Crosby continues to impress, breaking out in a giant way to help the Raiders beat the Bengals 17-10 on Sunday. The rookie recorded four sacks and a forced fumble in the victory to keep Oakland right in the playoff hunt. 

On Wednesday, Crosby was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his huge performance. 

Crosby became just the fourth rookie in NFL history to record four sacks in one game. He came through when needed most, too, with three of his four sacks coming in the fourth quarter.

The Eastern Michigan product joined only former Raider Greg Townsend to do so.

[RELATED: Raiders' entire 2019 NFL draft class making profound impact]

Crosby now has 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three passes defensed and 28 tackles this season. For comparison's sake, he has one more sack than Khalil Mack.

It's safe to say, the Raiders found a keeper in the fourth round.

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 17-10 win vs. Bengals

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 17-10 win vs. Bengals

OAKLAND – The Raiders didn’t bring their best to Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. They weren’t bad, not by any stretch, but had to battle a bit to beat the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

The 17-10 final score is absolutely all that matters here. The Raiders completed a perfect three-game homestand and have won five of their last seven games to join the AFC’s playoff race.

The Raiders will have to be better down the road, as early as next week against the New York Jets, and they know that.

But they fought hard and got another win at home to keep this good thing going.

There’s plenty of time to look at the big picture. Here’s how the Silver and Black graded out on this particular Sunday in our weekly Raiders report card:

Rushing offense

Josh Jacobs didn’t like his performance despite gaining 112 yards on 21. His 4.9 yards per attempt were above his season average and he ate up ground in chunks, but the rookie rusher was bothered by a red-zone fumble even after the game. He should have been. That’s a no-no.

The Raiders didn’t get much from other Raiders runners, with a 3.3-yards per carry average on the whole. That came against the NFL’s worst run defense – the Bengals had given up 173 yards per game entering Sunday – which probably increased frustration that the Raiders didn’t go off.

Grade: C

Passing offense

Derek Carr had a solid statistical day, much like Jacobs. The Raiders quarterback connected on his first 14 passes and finished with 292 yards and just four incompletions. Darren Waller was heavily involved, with five catches for 78 yards after getting some one-on-one or man coverage.

Hunter Renfrow had five catches for 66 yards, but a pass intended for him got picked. That was Carr’s first interception since Oct. 20, but still cut deep. The pass protection was lacking at times, which kept the air attack from finding a solid rhythm.

Grade: B-minus

Rushing defense

This is normally a team strength. Not on this day. The Bengals had 173 yards on 22 carries, for a whopping 7.3 yards per carry. Yeah. You read that stat line right. That normally means the Raiders lost a game. Not so here.

The Bengals still struggled on third down thanks to a terrible passing game. Joe Mixon gave the Raiders fits in last year’s matchup in Cincinnati and did so again Sunday, this time close to his Oakley home, totaling 86 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. This might’ve been the run defense’s worst showing of the season.

Grade: D

Passing defense

Ryan Finley struggled mightily in his second NFL start. The rookie completed just 13-of-31 passes for 115 yards and a Trayvon Mullen interception that sealed the Raiders' victory. The Silver and Black sacked him five times, including four from rookie edge rusher Maxx Crosby. One of them was a strip sack recovered by Maurice Hurst, though the Raiders gave the ball right back.

Newcomer Dion Jordan got in on the sack-tivity (get it?) in his first game as a Raider. The pass rush is starting to heat up now, with 10 sacks in the past two games. That’s a good sign for the defense as a whole, especially a secondary that is piecing a lineup together with Karl Joseph done for the season and Lamarcus Joyner out for the time being.

Grade: A

Special teams

Instead of kicking a long field goal late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders decided to punt to pin the Bengals deep for a final comeback attempt. Then A.J. Cole sent his punt into the end zone for a touchback. Not ideal, but not the end of the world. His 32.8-yard net punt average wasn’t great, and he put just one of five attempts inside the opposing 20. Daniel Carlson hit his only field-goal attempt, and it was a short one.

Grade: C

[RELATED: Jacobs hit hard by Tua injury]

Overall

The defense did more than enough to win. The offense feels like it didn’t do enough and still won. That’s the only important thing. Find a way to win a game. The Raiders did that for a third straight time thanks to more good coaching and enough good plays to beat the team on the other sideline. Do that enough and you’re playoff bound.

Grade: A