NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

The Raiders had a chance to move into first place in AFC West on Monday night, but they needed a little help.

They did not get that help as the Chargers failed to beat the Chiefs in Mexico City on "Monday Night Football." Kansas City held on for a 24-17 victory and moved to 7-4 on the season.

The Raiders, coming off a 17-10 win over the Bengals,  sit and 6-4 and remain in second place in the AFC West and in seventh place in the AFC playoff picture.

Had the Chargers won, the Raiders would have moved into third place in the AFC by virtue of the tiebreaker with the Indianapolis Colts.

Alas, the Raiders still are on the outside looking in.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture looks through 11 weeks of the NFL season.

1. New England Patriots (9-1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
6. Houston Texans (6-4)
7. Oakland Raiders (6-4)

The good news for the Raiders is that their schedule the rest of the way is slightly easier than that of Kansas City's.

Oakland has six games remaining and only their Week 13 matchup against the Chiefs comes against a team with a winning record. The Raiders also have games remaining against the Jets (3-7), Titans (5-5), Jaguars (4-6), Chargers (4-7) and Broncos (3-7).

[RELATED: Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 clash flexed to afternoon slot]

After a bye next weekend, the Chiefs host the Raiders, then travel to New England to take on the AFC-leading Patriots. They close the season against the Broncos, Bears (4-6) and Chargers.

Buckle up because the last six weeks of the season are going to have many more twists and turns.

Raiders' Erik Harris explains why 'dream came true' in win vs. Chargers

Raiders' Erik Harris explains why 'dream came true' in win vs. Chargers

ALAMEDA -- Raiders safety Erik Harris intercepted Philip Rivers on Thursday night and immediately took off down the right sideline. He stiff-armed a Chargers offensive lineman and outran everyone else on his way to the end zone.

He looked into the raucous Oakland Coliseum crowd while crossing the field, searching for his family. Harris found his wife and four children and pointed right to them.

This one, Harris said without speaking, is for you.

The Harris family didn’t make it to many games last year, Erik’s first season making significant defensive contribution. His youngest son Ellis was too young to travel from their Louisiana home, but the family has made it to four thus far this season.

Thursday night was a good one to attend. Harris had two interceptions, with a third negated by penalty, including the pick-six in a 27-24 victory over the Chargers.

“Last time I had a pick-six when they were in the crowd, [his twins Isaiah and Elijah] were 2 or 3 years old [– his daughter Esme is a bit younger --] but this time the older ones knew what was going on,” Harris said. “I ran over to them and started pointing to them. They told me after they saw me doing that, which made it an emotional, heartfelt moment.”

The whole night was something out of a script. Harris persevered through difficult childhood circumstances while embarking upon an incredible football journey from a NCAA Division II college to the CFL and then the NFL, with side jobs as UPS and a potato chip factory in between, was featured on the “Thursday Night Football” pregame show.

Then Harris balls out. Then the Raiders win, and Harris gets invited up to the NFL Network set, an honor bestowed on the game’s most impactful player. He was able to bring his wife Theresa and their four kids on stage at the end to share this big moment with his family.

“I was telling my wife this morning that Thursday didn’t even feel real,” Harris said. “They shared my story, then I played well and then everybody was able to join me on the set. It was almost like it was staged. It felt like that honestly. It was pretty cool.”

[RELATED: Swearinger ready to help Raiders' secondary, win title]

Harris has had big NFL moments before, but this was something altogether different. He was able to share his backstory with a massive audience and then show on the field what can happen when you won’t quit.

“That was one of best things to come out of the whole night,” Harris said. “My goal was always to make the NFL, but on Thursday night my real dream came true. It provided a platform for my story, my testimony to be heard around the country and the world, really, and inspire people to never give up.”

AFC playoff picture: Raiders on Chiefs' heels heading into Week 11

AFC playoff picture: Raiders on Chiefs' heels heading into Week 11

Raise your hand if you thought the Raiders would be thinking about the playoffs after they were rolled by the Vikings to open their five-game road trip in Week 3?

Anyone? Bueller?

Seven weeks after the Purple People Eaters hammered Jon Gruden's club, the Raiders sit at 5-4 and in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt. A Week 4 win over the Colts gave Oakland the tie-breaker over Indy for a wild-card spot, but the No. 5/6 seed might not be the only potential outcome for the Raiders. 

The Chiefs roared out to a 4-0 start, but have lost four of their last six, including Sunday's loss to Ryan Tannehill and the Titans.

At 5-4, the Raiders now sit just a half-game back of the reeling Chiefs and are a much different team than the one KC beat 28-10 in Week 2.

Here's a look at where the AFC West stands entering Week 11, and what each team has ahead of them.

Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 6-4 (1st place)

Remaining schedule: at Chargers, Bye, vs. Raiders, at Patriots, vs. Broncos, at Bears, vs. Chargers

Outlook: Patrick Mahomes miraculously missed just two-plus games after dislocating his knee cap in Week 7. The Chiefs went 2-1 in his absence. The reigning MVP returned Sunday and looked like his old self, throwing for 446 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-32 loss. As long as Mahomes is out there, the Chiefs remain one of the most dangerous offensives in the league.

KC has a host of other issues, though. Their sloppy special teams and porous run defense were keys in the Titans pulling off the upset, and if those issues continue going forward, the Raiders very well could catch the Chiefs.

Not to mention, the Chiefs are ravaged on the offensive line. Both Eric Fisher and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif both were ruled out prior to the game against the Titans, and guards Mitchell Schwartz and Martinas Rankin suffered injuries during the game, meaning the Chiefs were one injury away from having a tight end slot in on the line.

If the Chiefs' line can't get healthy, they could be in trouble as the season winds down.

Raiders

Record: 5-4 (2nd)

Remaining schedule: vs. Bengals, at Jets, at Chiefs, vs. Titans, vs. Jaguars, at Chargers, at Broncos

Outlook:  Gruden should get a lot of votes for Coach of the Year. The Raiders have been ravaged by injuries, and yet, they keep fighting and winning.

The latest injuries came in Thursday night's win against the Chargers, when safety Karl Joseph was injured while making a game-sealing interception. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday. Slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner also was hurt in the win vs. the Chargers, and his status going forward is in question.

The Raiders only can survive so many injuries, especially on defense. But the offensive line finally was whole against the Chargers, and that unit will be vital to the Raiders being able to control the clock and grind out victories going forward. The Raiders remaining opponents are 24-42, so the path is there for them to complete their surprising run to the playoffs whether that be the wild card or the division.

Los Angeles Chargers

Record: 4-6 (3rd)

Remaining schedule: vs. Chiefs, at Broncos, at Jaguars, vs. Vikings, vs. Raiders, at Chiefs

Outlook: Thought to be a Super Bowl favorite before the season started, that Chargers' season has been derailed by a host of injuries and Melvin Gordon's holdout. The running back returned in Week 5, but he altered the chemistry of the offense as the Bolts tried to force-feed the running back causing the offense to become stagnant.

After the loss to the Raiders, the Chargers are faced with an improbable task of running the table to finish the season at 10-6. With two games against the Chiefs, a battle with the Vikings and a game against the Raiders remaining, the road looks tough for the Bolts.

[RELATED: Where Raiders sit in NFL power rankings after Week 10]

Denver Broncos

Record: 3-6 (4th)

Remaining schedule: at Vikings, at Bills, vs. Chargers, at Texans, at Chiefs, vs. Lions, vs. Raiders

Outlook: Joe Flacco is done and Drew Lock isn't back yet. Vic Fangio's first year won't be a success, but it's hardly his fault. Time to look to the draft, where hope springs eternal.

While the AFC West remains a possibility for the Silver and Black, they also are in the thick of the wild-card race, which the Bills and Steelers currently occupy. The Patriots currently own the No. 1 seed, the Ravens sit at No. 2, the Texans are in third and the Chiefs have the No. 4 seed.

Here's a look at what the other AFC wild-card contenders have in front of them over the last seven weeks.

Buffalo Bills

Record: 6-3 (No. 5 seed in AFC)

Remaining schedule: at Dolphins, vs. Broncos, at Cowboys, vs. Ravens, vs. Steelers, at Patriots, vs. Jets

Outlook: The Bills are 6-3, yes, but it reeks of a fraudulent 6-3. After losing to the rudderless Browns on Sunday, the Bills look even more pretender than contender. A tough remaining schedule sees them face the Cowboys, Ravens, Steelers and Patriots, all of which could be Ls and that might be enough to bounce them from the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 5-4 (No. 6 seed in AFC)

Remaining schedule: at Browns, vs. Bengals, vs. Browns, at Cardinals, vs. Bills, at Jets, vs. Ravens

Outlook: It wasn't long ago the Steelers were 0-3 and looking at giving a top-10 pick to the Dolphins in the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. But Fitzpatrick has revitalized the Steelers' defense, and Pittsburgh now has won five of its past six and looks to be in the driver's seat for a wild-card spot.

Games against the Bengals, Cardinals and Jets all should be wins, and if they can knock off the Browns and Bills, Mike Tomlin might take the Coach of the Year Award from Gruden.

The playoff road is there for the Raiders. A slide by the Bills immediately puts them in position to join the Steelers as a wild-card team, and if the Chiefs don't find a way to cure their many ails, an AFC West title is there for the taking.

First things first, though. The Raiders must beat Ryan Finley and the Bengals and then trounce the punchless Jets.

Sitting at 7-4 heading to Kansas City in Week 13 is a must.