Despite their penchant for thinking games are over at halftime and their rash of injuries to key players, the Raiders are not eliminated from the playoffs.
When I walked out of the radio booth at the Oakland Coliseum for the final time Sunday, I thought it was wait until next year. But thanks to CBS’ John Breech and his computer, we have two five-team parlays that would make the Raiders the No. 6 seed in the AFC.
It starts like this in Week 16:
Raiders beat Chargers
Ravens beat Browns
Jets beat Steelers
Saints beat Titans
Colts beat Panthers
Not impossible, and as Breech points out, Vegas oddsmakers say the Raiders themselves face the most difficult task because they are seven-point underdogs Sunday at Los Angeles.
The Ravens need one more win to lock up home field for the AFC playoffs. The Jets are home, where they beat the Cowboys earlier. The Saints are battling for a first-round bye. The Colts are facing a quarterback making his first start.
Having cashed our first five-team teaser, let's move to Week 17:
Raiders beat Broncos
Browns beat Bengals
Ravens beat Steelers
Texans beat Titans
Colts beat Jaguars
This one is much trickier. Having wrapped up the No. 1 seed, the Ravens could be resting starters against a Steelers team that is still alive.
Then there’s a certain cold-weather statistic working against Derek Carr and the Raiders. They have lost 10 straight games when the temperature dips below 50 degrees. Frigid weather is almost a certainty this time of year in Denver.
I know this is the longest of shots, but this is the time of year when dreams come true.
Merry Christmas, everybody. And go, Raiders!