Oakland Raiders Power Rankings: Week 13

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For the Oakland Raiders, the idea of reaching the playoffs is becoming more of a possibility each week.General Manager Reggie McKenzie has constructed a roster that fits Head Coach Jack Del Rio's mold from top to bottom, and their leadership has this team playing its best football in over a decade. On Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the Silver and Black clinched their first winning-season in 14 years, dating back to 2002 when the team went to Super Bowl XXXVII, eventually falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This group of young players is hungry and eager to win, and will stop at nothing to achieve that goal. Del Rio has emphasized since the start of the 2016 season that last year the Raiders learned how to compete, but this year the team is understanding how to win, and it's doing just that. At 9-2, the Raiders lead the AFC West and are currently riding a five-game winning-streak.

The team has been successful this season in large part to the play of third-year quarterback Derek Carr, who has solidified himself in this season's MVP debate. No. 4 has led the Raiders to five game-winning drives this season, and most recently led a comeback win against the Panthers, despite suffering a finger injury in the third quarter.

With the Raiders surging in the playoff picture, 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: Khalil Mack doesn't need a secret identity and a cape.

He played superhero for the Raiders in plain view with two end-of-half daggers against Carolina: a pick-six at the end of the first half and a strip sack at the end of the second. Both proved pivotal in the fight to stop Cam Newton.

Every bit of help was needed when Derek Carr left the game with a finger injury. Newton came storming back and—let's face it—was too good for Oakland's secondary to stop.

Carr returned, and so did Oakland's swagger. The Raiders scored 11 points on their final two drives to pull out another roller-coaster win.

Looking ahead: Buffalo poses a toughness test for the big-play Raiders. Oakland can grind it out offensively, but can it stop LeSean McCoy from doing the same?

Current Ranking: No. 2

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 2

Analysis: The Raiders have clinched their first winning season since 2002, thanks to Derek Carr's late-game heroics. Carr has 13 game-tying or go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime the past two seasons, six more than any other QB, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: If Derek Carr didn't enter the little MVP convo you have with yourself in the shower every Monday morning, then he never will. Carr came back from a dislocated finger to lead the Raiders to victory in another close shave. Ironically, Carr looked like the Luke Skywalker of the NFL (which he kind of is) with that black glove on his hand, except, of course, he's working for the Dark Side. Now that we're full-on going down the nerd rabbit hole ... If Darth Vader was Luke's father, Khalil Mack was the Panthers' daddy on that final drive. Holy crap, what a move he put on Mike Remmers to force an errant throw on Oakland's side of the field. Then came the strip-sack with the game on the line. What a dude. #DPOY?

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Despite what I wrote above, the Raiders still deserve this spot ahead of the Chiefs. For now. It doesn't make their schedule easier down the stretch though, or give them any tiebreaker edges, and that makes their road to a division title tougher.

Current Ranking: No. 2

Previous Ranking: No. 2

Movement: N/A

Analysis: Playing down to the level of the competition could make Oakland a one-and-done playoff participant, if they're not careful.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: The Raiders came from behind once again after blowing a 17-point lead to the Panthers, further cementing Derek Carr's place among MVP candidates. The defense, particularly the pass rush, is improving, but the secondary still has to play with better consistency. Nonetheless, the Raiders are one of the three best teams in the league right now, led by their explosive offense.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 3

Movement: N/A

Analysis: They still have to be concerned about the defense. It has to be better come playoff time. Derek Carr's injured finger bears watching.

Current Ranking: No. 5

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: N/A

Analysis: Derek Carr may not study his playbook by light of the jukebox, but how much would Al Davis have extolled the toughness he showed Sunday?

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