Raiders are improbably still alive in playoff race. Here's how they can make it

The Oakland Raiders head into Week 17 alive in the playoff race.

What? How? Yes, somehow Oakland ran through a minefield of ways they could have been eliminated in Week 16 and are still mathematically in the race.

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The Raiders needed four things to happen in Week 16 to stay alive. They needed to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, of course. They also needed the New York Jets to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints to beat the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts to beat the Carolina Panthers. All of that happened. They also needed the Cleveland Browns to lose one of their final two games, and that was taken care of Sunday when the Browns lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

Somehow everything the Raiders needed to happen came through, setting up another wacky scenario for Week 17. Wouldn’t that be something?

How can Raiders make the playoffs?

The most important part of the scenario for the Raiders in Week 17 involves them winning. They play at the Denver Broncos in Week 17. The Broncos have played better since making rookie Drew Lock their starting quarterback.

The Raiders still would need a lot of help, but it’s not like any of these results are impossible to believe., citing NFL research, said the Raiders make the playoffs if all of this happens:

• Raiders beat Broncos

• Texans beat Titans

• Ravens beat Steelers

• Colts beat Jaguars

• Raiders clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Steelers

While it’s hard to believe everything on that list will hit, each of them individually are reasonable.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden needs some help to get in the playoffs. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden needs some help to get in the playoffs. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Week 17 will be entertaining in playoff race

Every few years, a team that needs a laundry list of things to happen to make the playoffs gets lucky and sneaks in. The 2006 Chiefs and 2013 Chargers come to mind.

It’s always fun when there’s some chaos in Week 17, and the Raiders staying alive as long as possible would be the most entertaining scenario possible. All four games that affect the No. 6 seed in the AFC will be played in the 4:25 p.m. ET window next Sunday, making for a lot of scoreboard watching around the league.

The Raiders fans will be the ones watching the most games.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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