Week 13: Who to Root For

(2020 Playoffs)

After a late season collapse last year, the Raiders entered the 2020 Season with something to prove.
With promising acquisitions at the Linebacker position in Free Agency, and at the Wide Receiver and Cornerback positions in the NFL Draft, the Silver & Black looked set to attack their opposition. And on Offense, they have. On Defense? Not so much.
Though fans at home may have needed a blood pressure check after many games this season, it can’t be denied that the Raiders have a healthy look at the playoffs. Right now, the glance is from the outside in – but that could soon change.

Below we will look at who all to root for, in order to maximize the Raiders’ chances at the playoffs.
I will go through and parse out the results for you that would result in the highest seed possible coming out of this week.

But first, let’s start with the current AFC Playoffs picture:

#1 Seed: Steelers  ||  #2 Seed: Chiefs  ||  #3 Seed: Titans  ||  #4 Seed: Bills
#5 Seed: Browns  || #6 Seed: Dolphins  || #7 Seed: Colts

The AFC Teams In-the-Hunt are currently (in order):
Raiders (#8), Ravens, Patriots, Broncos

And now, I will lay out the key match-ups for Week 13, with the team to root for bolded:

  • BENGALS (2-8-1) vs. Dolphins (7-4)  …  Sunday @ 10:00am PST
    • The Dolphins currently have a seat in the playoffs, so we of course want them to lose. We face the Dolphins in Week 16, so will have an additional say soon with the potential to secure a Head-to-Head tiebreaker if we can scorch them in our desert home – but for now, we need to look for anything that weakens their playoff case.
  • Colts (7-4) vs. TEXANS (4-7)  …  Sunday @ 10:00am PST
    • The Colts situation is basically a twin to our Dolphins situation. We’re neck and neck with them, and they too have a seat in the playoffs – one that we’d like to take. We also will have a say soon with them, with the potential to secure a Head-to-Head tiebreaker if we can beat them next week (Week 14) at our palace in the desert.
  • Browns (8-3) vs. TITANS (8-3)  … Sunday @ 10:00am PST
    • We are somehow 2 full games behind the Browns. At this point, it appears we’d like the Titans to take their division if possible, and they have 3 games that should be pretty winnable to help that case (vs. Jags, Lions, and Texans). As such, the gain by the Titans is of little concern to us, as it’s more important that we close the gap between us and the Browns since they’re currently a Wildcard team (and the Titans won’t be, if they take the division). And in case it’s not clear – you only compete for wildcard spots with other wildcard teams.
  • Patriots (5-6) vs. CHARGERS (3-8)  …  Sunday @ 1:25pm PST
    • The Patriots are right on our butts. Thankfully, they’re behind us currently but it’s only by 1 Game. A win by the Chargers here would help our cushion, while also weakening a division rival’s Draft position. If the Patriots win and we lose, they’d jump ahead of us in seeding because of a better Conference record – that’s how close it’s getting.
  • BILLS (8-3) vs. Niners (5-6)  …  Monday @ 5:15pm PST
    • We need the Bills to win their division at this point, because if they drop down to the wildcard slots, they’ll have the Head-to-Head tiebreaker over us because of our loss to them earlier in the season (in Week 4).
  • COWBOYS (3-8) vs. Ravens (6-5)  …  Tuesday @ 5:05pm PST
    • The race with the Ravens is even closer than ours with the Patriots. The Ravens currently have the same record as us, and we only have the tiebreaker because of our better Conference record (57% vs. 44%). It goes without saying that if they win and we lose, they too would jump ahead of us in seeding.

So there it is.
The HIGHEST SEED POSSIBLE coming out of this week? = #6 Seed
If the deuce hits the fan, how bad could things get?: = #10 Seed

We control our destiny.