Oakland Raiders Power Rankings: Week 12

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The Oakland Raiders aren't just first place in the AFC West, but are at the top of the entire AFC conference.

That's right, just two seasons removed from their 0-10 start, the Silver and Black are back to their winning ways and pulled out another clutch win Monday night. For the Week 11 matchup, the team traveled south to Mexico City where it would take on a challenging Houston Texans defense. Coming into the showdown, the Texans ranked fourth in overall defense, while the Raiders offense was the fifth best in the league. For a majority of the game, Houston's defense was living up to expectations and limited the Raiders to 81 total yards in the first half.

One of the most notable aspects of this young Raiders team, is its resiliency and hunger to win. The team has proved time and time again this season that it is capable of grinding out hard-fought wins. In the fourth quarter, the Raiders not only tied the Texans with a huge 75-yard touchdown, via quarterback Derek Carr and fullback Jamize Olawale, but stopped the Texans on a pivotal 4th down and then proceeded to take the lead with 4:43 left in the game.

The Silver and Black are finding ways to win in a variety of facets and are showcasing their determination to win. This team has earned its record of 8-2 and Head Coach Jack Del Rio has the team surging toward the playoffs.

Let's take a look at the Week 12 Power Rankings list, brought to you by NFL Extra Points.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 3

Movement: N/A

Analysis: Oakland had 81 yards heading into the halftime locker room.

Let that sink in for a moment: This high-powered high-wire act of an offense was putting up Brock Osweiler-like stats down in Mexico City. All signs pointed to its third loss this year.

That didn't happen, and that speaks volumes about Jack Del Rio's impact. The Raiders coach stuck with the run for three quarters despite Jadeveon Clowney's best efforts to destroy right tackle Austin Howard. Del Rio was confident his team could pull away in the fourth quarter; a gutsy fourth-down call (Latavius Murray up the middle) backs that up.

Of course, No. 4 was awesome too. Derek Carr finally broke down a stout Texans defense in the game's final quarter. His perfectly placed throws connected for 75- and 35-yard touchdowns and let Oakland claim the AFC's top seed, despite an off night.

Looking forward: Give it time and Oakland's offense can make plays against any defense. Can it make enough to top Cam Newton, though?

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 6

Movement: Up 2

Analysis: Just win, baby. That's all the Raiders seem to know how to do anymore, improving to 8-2 behind a fourth-quarter comeback fueled by two Derek Carr touchdown passes. Carr now has nine touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and overtime this season, tied for second- most in the NFL. The visiting Panthers are up next.

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: The Raiders keep winning, and on Monday night in Mexico, found a couple -- or three -- new ways to earn a victory. First, get the running backs involved in the passing game. Second, include the fullback in that equation. Jamize Olawale, a University of North Texas Mean Green alum, delivered a huge catch-and-run TD in the fourth quarter. Overall, the RBs posted 199 in the receiving column. The third new way to get a W? How about finding a way to the winner's circle when you're getting outplayed, out-snapped and have no ground game? #8-2

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: At this point, they're clearly the fourth team, but there's a wide gap between the top three and everyone else.

Current Ranking: No. 2

Previous Ranking: No. 2

Movement: N/A

Analysis: The logo should have traded the eye patch for a ski mask, given the way they stole the Monday night game from the Texans.

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: The Raiders escaped with a win over the Texans on Monday night thanks to a few missed calls by the officials. However, while they caught a few breaks, the Raiders also played well when it mattered. The defense stopped Houston late in the game, Derek Carr connected with his running backs for huge plays, and Amari Cooper shredded the Texans defense for a touchdown to win it. The Raiders are a really good team.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: They pulled it out Monday night against the Texans, but the defense had some issues. It needs to be better.

Current Ranking: No. 5

Previous Ranking: No. 6

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Young team is growing up fast, now riding atop AFC standings. First winning season and playoff trip since 2002 now mere formalities.

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