Oakland Raiders Power Rankings: Week 16

Power-Rankings-cp.jpg

As if it hasn't already been said enough, the Oakland Raiders are returning to the post-season for the first time in 14 years after defeating the San Diego Chargers Sunday 19-16. The Silver and Black are back and Head Coach Jack Del Rio has continued to preach the "Return to Greatness." This moment has been a long time coming for the organization and the fan base.

Just two seasons ago, the Raiders drafted defensive end Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr hoping they could help turn the franchise around. Mack and Carr made a pact with one another on that day promising to do anything necessary to help change the culture of the team, and it seems as though they've already accomplished that goal.

At 11-3, the Raiders have opened eyes all season long and are continuing to grow as one of the younger teams in the league. After the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Tennessee Titans Sunday, the Raiders are back at the top of the division and hold possession of the 2nd seed in the AFC.

Heading into Week 16, here's a look at this week's edition of the Power Rankings, brought to you by NFL Extra Points.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Oakland surrendered a long touchdown bomb on its first defensive possession.

And that was about it. Coach Jack Del Rio has worked out the kinks on that side of the ball, redoubling his efforts to spring Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. It shows.

That means Derek Carr can ease his way back from that injured pinkie. His receivers need to help; I saw too many completable Carr passes hit the turf from drops or lack of effort. Amari Cooper needs more attention. But we know what this offense can do at full tilt.

Looking forward: Indianapolis bludgeoned Minnesota's front five. It's about to see what a real offensive line looks like, though.

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: N/A

Analysis: The Raiders are officially back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and now have a first-round bye in their sights. But that's not all. If the Raiders can win out against the Colts and Broncos, they'll reach 13 wins for the first time since 1976.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Remember earlier this season when Raiders fans were asking, "Where the heck is Bruce Irvin?" Apparently 30,000 of them drove down to San Diego this past weekend, because their roar for Irvin was deafening when he trapped Philip Rivers during the final Chargers salvo. So the guy didn't provide the immediate impact everyone demanded in the early portion of the season ... Well, in Oakland's five games since the Week 10 bye, Irvin has racked up 28 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble. Not too shabby -- like the Raiders clinching their first playoff berth in 14 years and sitting in the driver's seat for a first-round bye. Next up: hosting the Colts.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: The road to a division title still isn't easy. If they beat the Colts at home this week, Week 17 at Denver should be tough. And the Chiefs still have the tiebreaker. But the pendulum swung the Raiders' direction in a big way Sunday when the Titans hit that last-second field goal at Kansas City.

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Based on Sunday's crowd, maybe the Raiders should be moving to San Diego.

Current Ranking: No. 4

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: The Raiders were nearly upset by the Chargers, which would have been crushing considering the Chiefs had already lost. Instead, they locked up a postseason berth for the first time since 2002 and have a strong grip on the AFC West with every other divisional team losing in Week 15.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 5

Movement: Up 2

Analysis: With the Chiefs losing and the Raiders winning, they are now atop the AFC West with two games to go.

Current Ranking: No. 3

Previous Ranking: No. 4

Movement: Up 1

Analysis: Is defense finally dialing in? Perceived weakness allowed just 16 points to high-powered Chargers on way to ending 14-year playoff drought.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising