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Time for Raiders to Make a Playoff Run

Today against the Washington Football Team, the Las Vegas Raiders must make their playoff run, if 2021 will be remembered for a turnaround.

The Las Vegas Raiders can’t afford to take the Washington Football Team lightly in their game on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas even though Washington has the worst record of the six teams left on their schedule.

The Silver and Black must win to improve their playoff chances.

Washington (5-6) defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night and are in the final National Football Conference playoff spot at the moment, but the Raiders must beat them and two other teams to finish over .500 at 9-8, but even that won’t guarantee a playoff spot.

The Raiders’ path to the playoffs won’t be easy because none of the other five teams left on their schedule have losing records: the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4), the Cleveland Browns (6-6), the Indianapolis Colts (6-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) and the Denver Broncos (6-5).

The Chargers currently hold the tiebreaker over the Raiders by beating them, 28-14, earlier this season, while the Raiders have the tiebreaker over the Broncos because of a 34-24 victory, both of them coming on the road, so the Raiders will get both teams at Allegiant Stadium in the closing weeks of the season.

The Raiders haven’t reached the playoffs since 2017 or won a playoff game since 2002. They were 4-12, 7-9, and 8-8 the last three seasons, getting off to promising starts in the last two years before fading and again missing the playoffs. The NFL has added a 17th game this season.

Once again, the Raiders are in a position to make it to the post-season with a strong finish.

“We are playing meaningful games,” quarterback Derek Carr said after leading the Raiders to a 36-33 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on Thanksgiving. “It is something we have gotten to do here a couple of times.

“The one time we go to the playoffs (in 2017), I broke my leg and I didn’t get to play. That’s disheartening, but it’s that drive. It’s that thing that keeps staying in my heart that I just want to do it for this organization.”

The Raiders, playing one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL this season, have looked like a playoff team at times—especially when they got off to a 3-0 start to the season, later after they reached 5-2 and again when they beat the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Now, it’s time for them to show they are for real.

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Carr passed for 373 yards against the Cowboys, including a 56-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, even with tight end Darren Waller missing the second half because of a knee injury.

That put Carr back into the NFL lead with 3,414 passing yards this season, with Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers second at 3,403.

“It was (Jackson’s) third week in the system, and I think Oly (offensive coordinator Greg Olson) did a phenomenal job of getting him in position on a lot of different route concepts for us where Derek knew that he could be there when he was supposed to be there,” interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said.

“ … Derek is his biggest critic. He wants to do well all the time. He wants to do well all the time in practice. He wants to do well in walkthroughs. Again, he’s been off sync a little bit. We’ve all been off sync. When it’s good, it’s complementary. When it’s bad, it’s easy to just point at the one guy. He’s the trigger guy. It’s probably the most difficult position in all of sports to go out there and do that week in and week out and (against the Cowboys), he just looked like Derek Carr.”

Carr knows the Raiders have to keep things going on both sides of the ball in the final weeks of the season, where they have faltered in the last two seasons.

And it starts this week against Washington.

“You would like to think this is the time to get hot,” Carr said this week. “We sure have done it the opposite in years past. Hopefully, this is the time that we can really hit the ground running and get hot at the right time.

“We’ve got a big one this week. If we don’t take care of business in the meetings, don’t take care of business at practice and all through this week, then Washington is going to come in here and beat us. Obviously, we don’t want that. So, we got to be focused and locked in and bring it on Sunday.”

The Raiders' season depends on it.

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