COVERING ALL THINGS SILVER AND BLACK

Raiders First in Line for the Wild Card

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05: Rock Cartwright #25 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after his team recovered a fumble in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 28-13. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    Want to see something cool, Raider Nation? Look at graphic representations of the AFC playoff race as it stands one Sunday into December.

    No, the Oakland Raiders do not have a playoff spot secured, and if the season ended today they would not make the playoffs.

    But they are officially the AFC's hottest and highest-ranked bubble team. The Raiders are the first in line if any of the Wild Card candidate teams should stumble.

    The currently 6-6 Raiders as a Wild Card instead of the Patriots or Jets or Ravens or Steelers? The television networks would not like that at all.

    But with four games remaining, it is not a longshot.

    Nobody outside Raider Nation wants them in there. But they're first in line, with monster advantages over everyone behind them.

    They're tied for second in the AFC West with the Chargers, but with yesterday's win they have swept San Diego for the season. That sort of matters in the tiebreakers.

    Indianapolis and Miami also have 6-6 records. But they both have awful 1-2 records within their own division, while the Raiders are a perfect 4-0 in the AFC West.

    Miami has beaten the Raiders head-to-head this season, so the Raiders would need to finish with a better record than the Dolphins.

    There are surely no more easy ones on the Raiders' remaining schedule. They're at AFC South-leading Jacksonville this Sunday, then have the Broncos and Indianapolis Colts at home, and finish against the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will open a special bottle of champagne tonight that he saves only for occasions when the Denver Broncos coach gets fired