I never try to take an unusual position just to be a contrarian.
If something doesn’t make sense, I try to fight against it. And, usually, arguing that a team may be best suited to be a wild card rather a division winner doesn’t make any sense. But in these current circumstances, it may actually behoove the Oakland Raiders to qualify to the playoffs as a wild card rather than the AFC West champion in the long run.
I know the importance of having a home game in the playoffs. And it’s difficult for me to argue against that. But Raiders’ fans, answer this question, who would you rather face Pittsburgh at home or Houston on the road in two weeks?
The entire idea of making the playoffs is preservation. You have to move on. I think Oakland would have a better chance to advance in the postseason if it plays Houston, rather than Pittsburgh, regardless of location. The Texans are beat up and the Raiders have already won in Houston this season. The Texans are projected to be the No. 3 seed and host the No. 6 seed. Assuming Ben Roethlisberger will be recovered from an ankle injury in two weeks, the Steelers (who are projected to the No. 5 seed and play at the AFC West champion) will be tough to beat.
According to ESPN’s playoff predictor, an Insider piece, the odds are Oakland has a better chance of being a wild card. And I don’t think that is such a bad spot for it.
In other AFC West news:
Kansas City interim coach Romeo Crennel vows to use his starters against Denver as the Chiefs try to keep the Broncos from making the playoffs. Why wouldn’t he? Crennel is trying to get the permanent job in Kansas City. Of course, the Chiefs are going to try to win.