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After an Ugly Loss to the New York Jets, Where Do the Oakland Raiders Go from Here?

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | When New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith threw a 'jump-ball' touchdown to Jeremy Kerley in the first quarter, the writing was on the wall for the Oakland Raiders.


And the writing didn't say the Jets were that good. It just said the Raiders were that bad.

Perhaps it was because they were coming off of back-to-back devastating losses. Or maybe it was because they were down to their third-string running back. It could also be because they played in the eastern time zone, a part of the country where they've now dropped 13 in a row.

Whatever the reason(s) was, the Raiders were awful on Sunday after losing 37-27 in MetLife Stadium.

The question is, where do they go from here?

In the span of just three weeks, Oakland went from a playoff contender to the same ol' Raiders. It's a reputation that general manager Reggie McKenzie has tried so desperately to do away with, and it's something that won't be tolerated if Dennis Allen wants to remain the head coach.

We knew the talent wasn't there. On paper, the Raiders' roster was arguably the worst in the league. The roster was patched together with cheap one-year deals because McKenzie was in payroll hell.

But despite the obvious lack of talent, the Raiders still played with a glorious amount of heart. They kept games competitive and they had the drive that all the great teams have.

That same heart was nowhere to be found on Sunday. It was obvious.

And with just three games left on the schedule, the Raiders still have several needs to address before next year's draft.

Most importantly, the quarterback.

Matt McGloin threw an interception in his own red zone that led to a New York field goal. It was a set back for the undrafted rookie, but he bounced back nicely after the ill-timed interception.

McGloin finished with 245 yards and a couple of touchdowns, and even took a page out of Terrelle Pryor's playbook by scampering for a 20-yard run later in the game.

Oakland needs to assess his performances the rest of the season and see if he is the guy they can build around.

Special teams used to be the backbone of the Raiders for the last decade. Now, it's gone.

The once-reliable Sebastian Janikowski missed another field goal against the Jets, and for the second time in a month, the Raiders had a punt blocked and taken to the house for six while playing in New York.

The defense was just as bad. The absence of heart, combined with constant mistakes spelled disaster for the Raiders as they let Geno "The Human Turnover" Smith have a solid day against them.

All in all, this is a team that still has plenty of work to do. These last three games won't be easy, as Oakland faces three divisional opponents that have a combined record of 27-12.

Keeping his team fired up is something that Allen has done very well this season. Now isn't the time for the Raiders to just throw in the towel. The AFC West has one of the richest histories in football, and how Oakland plays in these last three games will dictate Allen's future with the team.

These last three games will be both a mental and physical challenge for the silver and black. And with numerous questions still surrounding them, the Raiders need to ask themselves what kind of team they really are.

Otherwise, the much-needed progress they enjoyed when the season began was all for not.

Steven Slivka covers the Oakland Raiders for the Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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