CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears rushes against Jared Veldheer #68 of the Oakland Raiders during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Radiers defeated the Bears 32-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Julius Peppers; Jared Veldheer
This is right about the time of year when teams begin unofficially falling out of playoff contention. And we'd hate to see you waste your time with a team that has a fork in its back, which is why we present you with the DONE-O-METER, which helps us calculate which teams are done and which teams aren't. Today's subject: The Oakland Raiders.
TRENDING: Middling. Even after winning three in a row, I felt like the Raiders were frauds. Then they went to Miami and got 34 hung up on them in just three quarters. It's hard to overstate just how badly the Raiders got beaten by Miami. And while I know Miami is on a late season Tear of Vengeance, that's not the kind of loss you usually see suffered by a division titlist.
The good news for the Raiders is that they play in a division LOADED with frauds (San Diego, Kansas City), so second place is the worst they can do. The bad news is that they are now looking up at Tim Tebow, Savior Of Worlds, with the collective sports media all in agreement that, "Something is HAPPENING in Denver. Something special!" I don't actually believe in Tebow's team being lifted up by some kind of divine influence. But I DO believe that the Raiders are a secretly average team regressing back to the mean. Speaking of which...
SCHEDULE: NOT FAVORABLE. They have to go to Green Bay this week (Want a team that has truly been touched by greatness? Here you go), then they have the fading Lions at home the following week. Ndamukong Suh will be back for that game, and I suspect he'll have lots of anger issues to work out on the field. The Raiders then end with the Chiefs and Chargers. Norv's last game! Tell me the Chargers won't want to send out Norv on a high note! Just kidding. They'll probably pack his khakis for him.
Meanwhile, the Broncos get three fading teams for their final four games (Bears, Bills, Chiefs), plus one all-but-certain loss to New England in Week 15. If both teams win out, Denver would have the edge thanks to conference record. If the Broncos lose to New England and Oakland loses to Green Bay and both teams finish 10-6, the Broncos STILL nab first place on conference record. That would leave the Raiders fighting for the Wild Card with the likes of the Jets, Titans, and Bengals.
DONENESS: Medium. I think the Raiders will lose to Green Bay, and I think Carson Palmer has at least one stinkbomb left in him before the regular season is over. That leaves them at 9-7. That may still get them the #6 seed, but not much further.