Week 14: Time to Make a Run

Sup’ Homers (including the actual Homer)! TRF comin’ @ ‘cha with your weekly fix of the Pontificator. Last Sunday, we escaped a massive faceplant. There really is no denying that fact. But at this point, who cares. As Al loved to say, Just Win Baby and last week we did just that, in dramatic fashion. All that matters now is we’re 7-5 and very much alive in the crazy AFC playoff hunt.

In this installment of the Pontificator, we’ll explore the best and worst case scenarios associated with Week 14 possible outcomes, as we take a closer look at how our playoff chances change based on the Raiders’ performance (controllable) in conjunction with outcomes from other critical AFC matchups that are on tap this week (uncontrollable).

Before we jump into the fire, let’s establish where things stand right now…

At 7-5, and after incorporating the impact of Thursday night’s truly heart-wrenching beat down of the beloved Patriots, the Raiders currently have a 42% chance of making the playoffs as a wildcard participant. Now, as for the AFC West Division crown, let’s just put that can of Cheez Wiz down now before anyone gets hurt. Yes, mathematically a 0.4% chance exists that the Raiders will take that prize home in 2020, but it would require winning out with the Chiefs simultaneously going 0-4 down the stretch. So, yeah. No.

Moving on, let’s take a more realistic look at wildcard possibilities that are still in play.

The Absolute Best Case Scenario come Monday night. Here, the ball bounces our way everytime.

For the set of outcomes noted below, the Las Vegas Raiders would have a 74% chance of making the playoffs…

What has to happen? (Listed in order of “impact”.)

Raiders over Colts (62%) (+20) 1:05 PM PT

Browns over Ravens (67%) (+5) Monday Night 5:15 PT

Jaguars over Titans (72%) (+5) 10 AM PT

Chiefs over Dolphins (74%) (+2) 10 AM PT

 OK, lets visit the other side of this ‘what-if’ coin.

The Absolute Worst Case Scenario come Monday night. Here, everything goes wide right.

For the set of outcomes noted below, the Las Vegas Raiders would have a 15% chance of making the playoffs…

What has to happen to make it so? (Listed in order of “impact”.)

Colts over Raiders (24%) (-18) 1:05 PM PT

Dolphins over Chiefs (18%) (-6) 10 AM PT

Ravens over Browns (16%) (-2) Monday Night 5:15 PT

Titans over Jaguars (15%) (-1) 10 AM PT

So as you can see, depending on what happens, we could be in dire straights with a 15% shot (i.e. a 1/7 chance) or sitting pretty with a 3 out of 4 chance (74%) of extending our season. Quite the range of possibilities!

With a win over the Colts, even if everything else goes south, the Raiders would still be looking at better than a coin flip’s chance (55%) of surviving into mid-January. That would represent a +13% improvement over where things stand today. With a win on Sunday, we’re most likely looking at playoff odds somewhere between 55% and 74%.

Next week, we’ll Pontificate a bit deeper and take a closer look at the likelihood of securing the 5th, 6th or 7th seed. As part of that exercise, we’ll also take an early glimpse at who the Raiders might face off against in each of those scenarios. As is the case every year, the playoff picture will become a little clearer as we dig deeper into December.

Well, I think that’s all I have for now, brethren. Stay safe, root intelligently and be sure to love the ones you’re with this special holiday season!