With just six weeks left in the NFL season, there’s little time left for the really bad teams to turn their seasons around. The 2-8 Oakland Raiders are one of those teams. For them, the best-case scenario is an 8-8 season, and that’s only if the Raiders turn into an entirely different team overnight, possibly with an entirely different coach.
That’s the future Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wants, even if it’s not the future the Raiders’ front office wants. At 2-8, their future is most likely a top-five draft pick, but Carr wants to make that as tough as possible for the Raiders to achieve. And the way to achieve that is to win games, which is what he told reporters when they asked him about his goals for the final six games of the season.
“I just want to win. I want to mess up the draft. I don’t want the first pick. I want to win all these games. I want everybody to be mad at me for that. That’s what I want to accomplish.”
Carr’s attitude is exactly what you want from your team’s quarterback. A quarterback isn’t supposed to help his team tank and get a high draft pick. The quarterback isn’t even supposed to want that — you don’t become an NFL QB without having the drive to win and be the best at all times. With the Raiders having such a difficult season, he wants the team to finish out their remaining games competently (at the very least) and not comically.
Can the Raiders do it? Can Carr lead them to six straight victories? Well … probably not. Extremely probably not. In their last six games, the Raiders face the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Denver Broncos, and they twice face the Kansas City Chiefs. With two (!) games against the Chiefs, who are currently sitting at 9-2 and just narrowly missed being 10-1 on Monday, there’s really no chance. The Chiefs are having a fantastic season, a season in which they eat teams like the Raiders for a pre-meal snack.
Against the rest of the teams, the Raiders might have a slightly better shot. Probably not against the Steelers, who are 7-2-1 and are looking strong. The Bengals and Ravens are 5-5, and the Broncos are 4-6. None of those three teams are unbeatable, but the question is whether the Raiders can beat them. And that’s a big question, because the Raiders barely beat the Arizona Cardinals for their second win of the season last Sunday.
The Raiders’ front office wants that high draft pick, but Carr has set his goals. We’ll have to wait to see which one wins out, but at this point it’s not hard to guess which side you should put your money on.
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