Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer 384d

Jack Del Rio: Raiders looking for 'mojo' to key second-half run

SARASOTA, Fla. -- With a record of just 3-5, the Oakland Raiders are in desperate need of a do-over.

But that's not reality.

The Raiders, who have underachieved after being a popular Super Bowl pick this summer, are instead using a week at a luxury resort here while practicing at the exclusive IMG Academy in nearby Bradenton, Florida, to recalibrate and, as coach Jack Del Rio said Monday in his weekly media conference, attempt to get their "mojo" back before the season is truly lost.

"It's a faith thing," Del Rio said Monday, in the wake of Sunday's 34-14 loss at the Buffalo Bills. "You either believe or you don't.

"Like I've said many times, we've got a prideful group of guys. We're just not that far away, but we have to get it going. It's past time, really. The second half is here and we've got some ground to cover. We've got some ground to make up. We have to get busy. The urgency, the attention to detail is going to be heightened. With finding that, I think it's a little bit of a confidence thing."

Five times in his 15-minute presser, Del Rio mentioned "mojo." And while the Raiders' coach may not be the second coming of Jim Morrison's self-described Mr. Mojo Risin', the Raiders need that mojo to rise. And fast.

Because even a 6-2 finish would put Oakland at just 9-7 a year after going 12-4 and being a wild card in the AFC playoffs. And nine wins might not be enough to gain entrance to this year's postseason, with 12 teams already ahead of them at the midseason point.

The Raiders, who are in last place in the AFC West, have lost five of their past six games and have a big stage this coming weekend with a prime-time game at the Miami Dolphins.

"I do believe," Del Rio said. "That's why I can say that. Now we get to see. We get to go prove it."

Starting with those Dolphins.

A quick look, then, at the Raiders' second-half opponents, with their current records:

Week 9

At Miami Dolphins (4-3)

As out of sync as the Raiders were against the Bills, the Dolphins were worse in a 40-0 loss against Baltimore.

Week 10


Week 11

Vs. New England Patriots (6-2) in Mexico City

Technically a home game for Oakland, it is hard to see the Raiders pulling off an upset of the defending Super Bowl champs in their current unbalanced, mojo-less state.

Week 12

Vs. Denver Broncos (3-4)

Oakland played poorly in Denver at the beginning of October and was still threatening to win late, while the Broncos have gotten progressively worse.

Week 13

Vs. New York Giants (1-6)

While the Raiders should be favored, it all may depend on if they have been playing sound ball and winning games leading up to this matchup.

Week 14

At Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)

The Raiders' improbable win with no time on the clock during Thursday night football (Week 7) will be fresh in the Chiefs' minds, even if it will be almost two months later.

Week 15

Vs. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

Once seen as a potential Super Bowl preview, this Sunday night national television affair will be the Raiders' home finale ... unless they somehow get a home playoff game. Too soon?

Week 16

At Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)

OK, who was the genius that scheduled a West Coast team to travel cross-country for a Monday night game on Christmas, and who knew the Eagles would be so good?

Week 17

At Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

And you thought the Raider Nation takeover of San Diego last December was impressive?

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