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Raiders Could Clinch a Playoff Spot This Weekend

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Highlights of the Detroit Lions' win over the New Orleans Saints in Week 13 of the NFL

I spent the next 21 seasons as a Rams fan with one reward, The "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams produced one Super Bowl victor and a 56-24 record over five seasons from 1999-2003. This year seems to be no different. New England, Oakland and Kansas City are in a battle for a bye - with the two latter teams facing off for the AFC West. Something you'd have four or five days to study a team, you have two days. If the AFC West foes beat up on each other, that could clear a path for the Patriots to stand alone atop the conference.

As NFL teams round the final turn and head into this season's stretch run, the best-positioned teams are not leaning so heavily on stellar defenses. Since there would be no head-to-head matchup and the conference records would be identical, the Raiders would earn the top spot based on best winning percentage between common opponents with a minimum of four games.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are trying to find a way around the Raiders. If both New England and Oakland each hold serve over the next three games, the Patriots could be in the rare situation of rooting for the Broncos to beat the Raiders in the regular season finale if they want to get home field. Lucky or good? Kansas City is hoping to get back No. 1 receiver Jeremy Maclin this week.

And it wasn't just on offence that the Raiders improved as the game went on. And for the first time in years, that's a big deal not just to Chiefs and Raiders fans but to the National Football League as a whole.

The Raiders are about to go into the most challenging portion of their schedule, as they will play the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos to close their season. The defense lost its leader in Luke Kuechly a few weeks ago and they've allowed 75 points in two games without him on the field.

They opened the season with three road games with early starts in the first four weeks and won all of them.

The Ravens absolutely demolished the Dolphins at home this past week.

Most important offensive play of the game.

"If you are not going to the game and you typically use 70 or 435 around the stadium complex to get home, we recommond finding an alternative route prior to Thursday", Donovan said. That's flawless for a team that is oddly struggling to run the football. They're clinging to the first wild card but a Week 17 road game in Washington could loom large. They are a team full of veterans. Khalil Mack was once again a dominant force, hitting Taylor's arm on one drive to force an interception before ending the game on the next with a strip sack and fumble recovery.

The Steelers have a much easier schedule than Ravens. And three of their next four opponents - Washington, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay - are all now in the thick of the playoff race. They will absolutely eventually make some plays, and no one encapsulates that more than Eric Berry right now. It says they can adjust to their opponent and win in whatever way they have to.

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