For a 5-10 team with nothing to play for, the Oakland Raiders have had a lot to do with determining who will and will not be the AFC wild card teams. Bubble teams Denver and Pittsburgh would have already secured playoff sports, if not for their losses to Oakland.
The Raiders can bounce as many as three teams from this year's playoffs by beating the Baltimore Ravens at today's final game at home. At 8-7, the Ravens need this win for a wild card slot.
Going up against a strong AFC playoff contender is what these Raiders do best, as they showed by beating the Bengals, Broncos, and Steelers. It's those Browns and Redskins kind of games against awful teams that trip them up.
The Ravens know it, and they don't get knocked off by underdogs very often. David White points out in the Chronicle, "In the past two seasons, Baltimore is the only NFL team that has not lost to a team with a losing record either at the time of the game or when the final standings were computed."
"We don't overlook anybody," Baltimore's Ray Lewis told the Chronicle.
If the game is blacked out locally, follow NBC Bay Area Sports for live game notes.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who can never, ever resist another opportunity to remind you of this awesome Ray Lewis cartoon from "Saturday Night Live".