Oakland Raiders Power Rankings: Final Regular Season Edition

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From start to finish, the Oakland Raiders opened a lot of eyes this season, and proved that they are back to playing competitive football. Derek Carr's MVP-caliber season, the emergence of the team's three-headed rushing attack, some big time performances from the defensive pass rush, and many more things contributed to the Raiders 12-4 record. While the loss of the Silver and Black's quarterback has certainly resulted in some skepticism, the team is as positive as ever and is honed in on Saturday's playoff game.

Heading into the postseason, let's take a look at the final regular season power rankings, presented by NFL Extra Points.

Current Ranking: No. 9

Previous Ranking: No. 7

Movement: Down 2

Analysis: It's likely Oakland lost its Super Bowl chance the minute its quarterback fell.

That might sting, but take a step back. Look at the bigger picture. I just used the words "Oakland" and "Super Bowl chance" in the same sentence, and that sentence was not "Oakland has no Super Bowl chance whatsoever." It's been a while since any of us could say that—14 painstaking seasons, to be exact.

Raiders fans waded through the football sewage that was JaMarcus Russell and Tom Cable's fists and two seconds of Lane Kiffin; they came out on the other end with Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. I bet any Vader helmet-wearing die-hard in the Black Hole would take that trade-off, all things considered.

Did I mention your soon-to-be Defensive Player of the Year? By my count, Khalil Mack single-handedly won three games for Oakland by either forcing a game-winning turnover or scoring himself. He's not alone now that Bruce Irvin is hitting his Seahawks-days highs on the other side of Jack Del Rio's defense. I'm excited to see what the playoffs bring, even if it's not a Lombardi Trophy.

Looking ahead: Matt McGloin has the reins at quarterback, but it's not his show to run. Oakland's offense will flip to run-you-over mode this postseason, a dangerous setting it tested out a few times this year. Ask the Denver Broncos how easy that is to stop.

Current Ranking: No. 9

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Down 4

Analysis: It doesn't help that the Raiders scored six points in their first full game without QB Derek Carr. Carr helped the Raiders overcome a lot of deficiencies this season (26th in total defense and most penalized team), and win or lose in the playoffs, the season should still be considered a success.

Current Ranking: No. 11

Previous Ranking: No. 7

Movement: Down 4

Analysis: Doom and gloom surrounds this football team. A bit premature, isn't it, though? Is Connor Cook -- who had, well, zero experience before being thrust into action against a top-shelf Broncos defense with little help -- that much worse than Brock Osweiler (a.k.a., the guy who has thrown one touchdown pass over his last three games for the Texans, and whose 72.2 passer rating ranks 30th among qualifying quarterbacks)? Houston's defense has been legit all season, but in terms of supporting cast on offense ... Advantage, Raiders. All of this is to say, don't count the Silver and Black out of this wild-card matchup just yet. And don't count Derek Carr out of the MVP race, either. Not after the voters saw the real A.C. -- After Carr -- on Sunday.

Current Ranking: No. 11

Previous Ranking: No. 10

Movement: Down 1

Analysis: Matt McGloin was worse than I ever imagined. If Connor Cook has to start, he'll be the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in a playoff game. What a weird playoff game we're going to see on Saturday afternoon. It's too bad, the Raiders really were potential Super Bowl contenders before Derek Carr's injury.

Current Ranking: No. 11

Previous Ranking: No. 6

Movement: Down 5

Analysis: Can Rich Gannon get in game shape by Saturday?

Current Ranking: No. 9

Previous Ranking: No. 6

Movement: Down 3

Analysis: Poor Raider Nation. Oakland finally has a fantastic season and it ends with Derek Carr breaking his leg in the final month. Unfortunately, his injury will prevent the Raiders from winning it all despite their remarkable turnaround in 2016.

Current Ranking: No. 6

Previous Ranking: No. 3

Movement: Down 3

Analysis: Without Derek Carr, they have major issues. They can't win it all with Matt McGloin.

Current Ranking: No. 11

Previous Ranking: No. 11

Movement: N/A

Analysis: If they want to check off their next "first" since 2002, i.e. a playoff win, couldn't ask for better wild-card opponent than reeling Texans.

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