AFC West

Will the Oakland Raiders be a Playoff Contender?

Dec 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) reacts after catching a touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Just win baby. As the late Al Davis used to say, the Oakland Raiders are taking his motto and running with it. As the Raiders took down the Chargers on Sunday afternoon, the Oakland faithful seems ecstatic about the potential of this team.

The Raiders are sitting at 4-1 with all of the games being decided by 7 points or less. Their lone loss is looking better by the week as the Atlanta Falcons continue their hot play. They are tied for the top spot in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos and are a game and a half up on the Chiefs and three games up on the Chargers.

There has been a lot that has led to the Raiders success, but it’s all started with head coach Jack Del Rio’s mindset. In the first game against the New Orleans Saints, the Raiders were down by 1 after scoring a touchdown with 47 seconds left and Del Rio went for two to win the game. The highly questionable decision…it worked.

And then yesterday, on 4th and 2 from the 21 yard line, down by 5 points, Jack Del Rio went for it with Derek Carr throwing for the end zone and hitting Michael Crabtree for the touchdown to give the Raiders the lead.

The player who caught that touchdown believes in the bold moves by his head coach. “You already know what time it is. You already know about Coach. He believes in us, so we’ve got to have his back. It all goes together. We take care of each other,” said Crabtree.

On top of that, QB Derek Carr has been extremely solid throughout the first five weeks of this 2016 season. He’s currently 7th in QB rating for quarterbacks that have thrown at least 100 pass attempts. Despite being young, Carr has shown an impressive amount of maturity for his third season in the league.

Even with the carousel of running backs that have been behind or beside Carr, he has been relatively steady and the offense has scored at least 17 points in every game this season. Amari Cooper is looking like a potential superstar and Crabtree has been a decent veteran to add to the mix.

The defense has been iffy but as long as the offense continues to put up these solid numbers, the fans in the “Black Hole” should continue to believe in the hype. Despite Denver still being the favorite of this division, there is no reason why the Raiders can’t compete and attain a wild card spot.

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