The Las Vegas Raiders have seen their 2023 playoff hopes fade in the last two weeks, but at 5-7, they remain just two games outside of the AFC playoff picture entering Week 14. By the time they take the field on Sunday, things could look a lot different for the Raiders depending on the early slate results.
With the help of the free PFN NFL playoff predictor, let’s examine the best and worst-case scenarios for the Raiders in Week 14 and what it means for their playoff chances as things stand and as we go forward.
1 p.m. ET Games Update
Bengals (7-6) defeated Colts (7-6)
Jets (5-8) defeated Texans (7-6)
Ravens (10-3) defeated Rams (6-7)
Browns (8-5) defeated Jaguars (8-5)
4 p.m. ET Games Update
Vikings (7-6) defeated Raiders (5-8)
Broncos (7-6) defeated Chargers (5-8)
Bills (7-6) defeated Chiefs (8-5)
What Are the Las Vegas Raiders’ Playoff Chances and Scenarios in 2023?
The Raiders need a turnaround in fortunes and a lot to go their way if they are to make the playoffs this season. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them just a 0.7% chance of making the playoffs and a 0.1% chance of winning the division in 2023. That number is based on both their performances this season and how the system views both the teams they will be facing and those around them in the standings.
The best-case scenario for the Raiders would see them move to 10th in the AFC standings with a win over the Minnesota Vikings. That would put Las Vegas in a five-way tie at 6-7 and just one game behind a three-way tie for the sixth and seventh seeds at 7-6.
Starting from 5-7, the Raiders will have to be almost perfect over the next five weeks. It is not just about their overall record but also about padding their stats when it comes to NFL playoff tiebreakers, such as head-to-heads, their conference record, and common game records.
For that best-case scenario to happen, the Raiders would want to see the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Houston Texans lose. The Bills losing is a double-edged sword because it moves the Chiefs to 9-4 and potentially out of reach for the division, but the Wild Card spots have to be their main focus right now.
From a worst-case perspective, any type of loss is about as damaging as it gets. Las Vegas cannot be formally eliminated this week. But a loss — and wins for the Browns, Texans, and Indianapolis Colts — would leave them three games back on the playoff spots with four to play. That would put the Raiders on the verge of elimination from the playoffs.
Can the Raiders Still Win the AFC West in 2023?
As things stand entering Week 14, the Raiders have a slim chance of winning the division this season. At 5-7, they are three games behind the Chiefs with five to play. Las Vegas also has games against all three of their divisional opponents with which to change things around in the last four weeks.
At the very least, the Raiders would need the Chiefs to go 2-3 while they go 5-0 to even get to a tied record between the two sides. It would then come down to tiebreakers, of which the divisional record is crucial. If the Raiders sweep the next five, they would be 4-2 within the division and at least level with the Chiefs. If one of the Chiefs’ three losses comes against the Chargers, the Raiders would have an advantage there.
Mathematically, the division is still within reach, but it needs things to fall almost perfectly for the Raiders. They cannot realistically afford a single loss, especially in those games against the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos. With all four teams still technically in the mix for the division, a lot could change with those games over the coming weeks.
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