It’s been a big week in NFL football. As we move ever closer to playoff time, the time is getting shorter and the clock is ticking for some of the bubble teams who have some hope to steal a wild card spot or come back and take their division.
A couple of big, detrimental losses were to the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders did what Raiders do … at least over the last ten or so years. What is that you might ask? Well, it’s blow games that they really need. With The Chiefs on bye, the Raiders had the chance to pull up evens with KC. They would have still been in second place in the AFC West, but at least their records would have been tied, and they would be a game up on both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. Then when they finally got to play the Chiefs again, they could try to get a head-to-head win back to even up the score and actually take the division. But what do they do? They head to East Rutherford and lost to one of the worst teams in the NFL. They got completely smoked and didn’t come close to covering the NFL odds.
Over in Jacksonville, their mathematical chances at taking the FFC South just got chopped at the knees with their devastating loss to the Tennessee Titans. With this loss, they move to 4-7 instead of 5-6 and the Titans surpass .500 and move to 6-5. The Jags have a weak back end of their schedule with easy games, but now they are basically forced to finish the season 5-0 to even have a chance to win the division – which still would be likely, the Texans would have to completely collapse. If they win five straight, they might be able to grab a wild card spot … but the Titans are rolling with Tannehill and could keep racking up wins as well, making the Jags job even harder.
The Raiders Next Step
The Oakland Raiders get their next game over in Arrowhead Stadium against their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. After a complete failure this weekend in New Jersey, things are not looking so good for Gruden’s men. The Raiders sucked on both sides of the ball. They couldn’t score, and it’s like the defense took the night off, allowing a Jets offense that previously couldn’t break 20 points in a game, put up 34 points for the third week in a row.
After such a horrendous performance, the Raiders have opened as 9.5 point underdogs, and the Chiefs are surely going to move into double-digit favorites by the end of the work-week. The one redeeming factor is the Chiefs home offense is not nearly as productive as when they are on the road. They only put up 24 points per game in Arrowhead. On top of that, they allow over 26 at home, so they are at a negative scoring margin. That said, thanks to last weekend, the Raiders road numbers took a huge hit. They now only average 19 points per game on the road, and allow 32 …
Can the Jags Pounce the NFC?
Now the Jaguars have to face the Buccaneers. It’s another interesting matchup where the Jags are scoring just 16 points per game at home – significantly worse than their road numbers– and the Buccs are putting up 31 per game on the road – significantly better than their home numbers. Defensively, the Jags are still pretty solid in Jacksonville. They allow just 20 points per game at TIAA Bank Stadium. The Buccs allow 29 per game on the road … probably thanks to all of Jameis Winston’s ill-timed interceptions. Still, this has the makings for a close game, and it’s one that both teams absolutely need.
This one will be messy and full of mistakes that could make this game go either way. The Jags are 1-6 over their last 7 and the Buuccs are 2-5 over their last 7. It’s two teams on the slide … Still, I expect this one to come down to a field goal … so you shouldn’t miss it!