By Sam McPherson
Coming into the 2014 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders knew they were facing an uphill battle in the AFC West division, since every other team in that group made the playoffs last season. And not much has changed after five weeks of play this year, as the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs are a collective 9-5 already—and each team has outscored its opponents on the year, as well.
Meanwhile, the Silver & Black are 0-4 and have been outscored by 52 points in those four losses. This is what we expected.
The Raiders have six games remaining against those three teams—home and away games against all three, of course—and it’s not looking good for those match-ups. The first one takes place next week at the Oakland Coliseum against the division-leading Chargers, and that begins a stretch of seven games for the Raiders against teams with a current combined record of 20-10.
Yes, Oakland could be 0-11 if they’re not careful, which is a revised estimate from the 2-14 suggestion just a few games ago.
(It’s never too early to start thinking about who the No. 1 overall pick in the draft might be, Raiders fans. Book your reservations for Chicago right now.)
The Next Seven Games, Four Against Division Does, Look Scary
First, as mentioned, the 4-1 Chargers come to town next weekend. After San Diego dismantled the New York Jets today, 31-0, the Oakland squad knows what to expect. The Jets hung on to beat the Raiders in Week One, but that’s been New York’s only win. The Chargers have a quarterback—Philip Rivers—playing his best ball right now, and we have seen the trouble Oakland had with schmucks like Geno Smith—benched today against the San Diego defense—and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Oh, and the Raiders have two games against the Chargers in the next seven: October 12 in Oakland and November 16 in San Diego.
The 3-1 Arizona Cardinals have some health issues at quarterback, as they were down to their third-string QB Sunday against the Broncos as they suffered their first loss of the year. But the defense usually is stout, and if regular starter Carson Palmer—you remember him, right?—is healthy, the October 19 game in Oakland could be an ugly one for the Raiders.
The October 26 trip to Cleveland doesn’t look so promising any more, as the Browns set an NFL record Sunday with the largest road comeback in history. At home, Cleveland will be tougher, for sure.
The November 2 game in Seattle is sure to be more trick than treat for Oakland, and then it’s Peyton Manning and his 503 career passing touchdowns coming to Oakland on November 9.
Then, after that second game against the Chargers, the Chiefs come to the Coliseum on November 20 for a Thursday night game. Kansas City played the San Francisco 49ers very tough on Sunday in Santa Clara before losing by five points.
Any Hope For a Win This Year?
It’s true the Raiders could go winless. Right now, the only game that looks like a possible win for Oakland is the road game at St. Louis on November 30—with ten days to rest after the Chiefs game, the Raiders might be able to pull off that road upset.
Realistically, Raiders fans have to consider that the second 0-16 season in NFL history is a real possibility for this squad.
Maybe Dennis Allen is lucky he got fired.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.