While the bye has been wonderful for recovering the Raiders‘ health, the results of this week have pushed them a little farther from the rest of their division.
The Chiefs and Chargers, the two teams immediately ahead of the Raiders, both pulled out a win, pushing the Raiders farther into 4th place in the AFC West. The Chiefs were taken to the wire in Case Keenum’s first start, which should cause the team some grief despite an undefeated start, but they still are five games ahead of the Raiders. The Chargers had difficulty slowing the Jaguars, as Chad Henne managed to pull off 318 yards despite missing Justin Blackmon for a majority of the game, but still pulled out a solid 24-6 victory. The Broncos, meanwhile, were upset on the road last night to the Luck-led Colts offense. Despite Von Miller’s return to the NFL after a six-game suspension, the Denver defense was still not able to get off of the field.
The Raiders may be farther in fourth place, but they should be encouraged by this week’s results. The Chiefs continue to look vulnerable, despite being undefeated, while the Broncos were finally undone by a defense and simply an above-average offense (if 33 points can be considered unimpressive). The Raiders may be 2-4, but winnable games against Pittsburgh, Houston, and NY Giants could theoretically have this team above .500 entering the second half of the season. It may not be enough to win the division with an undefeated and a one-loss team also in the AFC West, but it is possible for this team to still make noise.