The Raiders entered Sunday’s game against the Giants with a chance to equal the AFC West leading Chiefs at 6-6.
The Raiders did that with a 24-17 win in Oakland over the hapless Giants.
The Chargers knocked off the winless Browns to create a three-way tie at the top of the division after the Jets took down the struggling Chiefs.
Now the division is up for grabs with all three teams at 6-6 and all three teams scheduled to play one another before the season ends.
While the Raiders managed to climb back into the race for the playoffs, the win was not pretty.
Without the top two receivers, the Raiders offense lacked explosive plays. The passing game was limited to dink and dunk passes that often led to third down passes being thrown short of the line to gain.
Amari Cooper (concussion) and Michael Crabtree (suspension) missed the game, leaving the Raiders to use Seth Roberts as the number one receiver.
On the day Derek Carr hit eight different teammates with passes. Cordarrelle Patterson led the team with 97 yards.
The Raiders did start the game with an explosive play, as Marshawn Lynch took Oakland’s third offensive play 51 yards for a touchdown. Lynch finished the game with 101 yards on 17 carries; the 101 yards are a season high for Lynch.
The Raiders defense looked dominant for a second straight week, holding the Giants to 17 points and 265 yards. Oakland has surrendered just xx points the last two weeks.
That is largely thanks to playing back up quarterbacks for two consecutive weeks. Geno Smith was 21 of 34 for 212 yards.
But the Raiders defense has started to create pressure on the quarterback. Last week they ripped up Denver for five sacks, and snagged another three sacks today.
The biggest play of the game came late in the second quarter, as the Giants had the ball inside the Raiders 10 yard line after Marquette King was tackled before he get a punt off.
But Khalil Mack erased that mistake by not only sacking Smith, but ripping the ball out of hands. It was the type of play the Raiders have needed from Mack all season.
The dominant defense and the win set up a critical matchup next week in Kansas City. The winner will have a path to the playoffs, the loser will need serious help.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.