NFL: Oakland Raiders will be in the playoffs in 2014 if…

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In some ways, it is almost unfathomable.

The Oakland Raiders, known for their “Commitment to Excellence” and a Hall of Fame owner who coined the phrase “just win, baby,” have been far from excellent and have had a lot of trouble winning consistently.

It has now been more than a decade since the Silver and Black have finished a season with more victories than losses. During the first year of realignment (2002), then-head coach Bill Callahan led the team to an 11-5 record and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII. The team fell hard in a 48-21 loss to former head coach Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Raiders have seemingly not recovered since. Dating back to 2003, the franchise owns a dismal 53-123 record, losing at least 11 games in nine of those 11 seasons. After glimmers of hope in both 2010 and 2011 thanks to back-to-back 8-8 showings, Oakland is a combined 8-24 the last two years.

Is there any end in sight when it comes to the losing? Dennis Allen’s club has once again made a number of changes on both sides of the football, thanks to general manager Reggie McKenzie. This could be a very surprising team once September rolls around.

This is the fifth part of a 32-team series in which we’ll look at the “if, and & but’s” of each team’s chances to make the postseason.

And Oakland will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002…

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Tags: AFC West Antonio Smith Carlos Rogers Charles Woodson Darren McFadden Dennis Allen Derek Carr James Jones Justin Tuck Khalil Mack LaMarr Woodley Matt Schaub Maurice Jones-Drew NFL Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie Sio Moore Tarell Brown

  • raidernation

    Excellent piece , the breakdown, the add_ons, good understanding of last ,present, and future byproduct……Raiders #1. Ps. How ironic Schaub replace Carr, Derek Carr replace Schaub regardless of bad playing or contract xpires .. u cant write this stuff.

  • p.rob.

    RAIDERS will be in the playoffs, and it will the improvement in the TRENCHES on both sides of the ball.Watch Out AFC QB’s Raiders Pass Rush will be a Major problem for Manning, Rivers, and Smith record in my opinion seeing that they have the TOUGHEST SCHEDULE in the NFL this season 9-7..JUST WIN BABY!!!

  • James Schroeder

    I’ve said it since the beginning and I’ll say it again. “In Reggie we trust”. Reggie was a part of the Raiders organization as a player when the Raiders were legends amongst legends, and now he has return to lead our team back to the promised land. We have stood by patiently as he has deconstructed the mess that was handed to him, and we have watched this off-season as the rebuilding process has begun. I am proud to see this great organization slowly come back to form, and I am truly proud to be a part of raider nation. With the toughest schedule in the NFL and playing not only within one of the toughest divisions but against another tough division in the NFC West it will be a truly remarkable task to make the playoffs, but I believe the Raiders will. They will shock the football world.

  • B Christopher

    Defense & Running game is what will get the Raiders into the playoffs. The AFC West was so good lSt year because they all beat up in the Raiders. That’s not gonna happen this year. Sure, the Raiders have a tough schedule, but, so does SD, KC & Denver. Just a birth into the tournament is all that is needed, and our D & running game will get us there. We’re going to have a ferocious D.