The Oakland Raiders sit at 3-10 this year, which means most fans are already looking to April and 2013 NFL Draft. The team has quickly dropped from a dark horse playoff contender to a pick in the top-5 of the draft in a six-week span.
Heading into Week 14, the Raiders were tied for the third overall pick in the draft with the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles. However, the loss on Thursday put Oakland in a position to get into the conversation for the first pick in April. Now a lot of fans would like to know what needs to happen for Oakland to get that top selection, so here’s a handy guide to the Week 14 slate and who you need to root for in order for Oakland to get that pick.
The obvious thing that has to happen is to have the two teams in front of Oakland win on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs have the easier game, a matchup on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs are coming off an emotional win last week and the momentum should carry over against the Browns, who have won two straight in their own right. The other team ahead of Oakland is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play host to the New York Jets. The Jets are in a lot of turmoil, but they have more talent than the Jaguars. However, Jacksonville has found a way to be competitive in many contests, so it is possible for them to spring the upset at home.
It would be nice for the Eagles and Panthers to win as well, but both have difficult tests this week. Carolina hosts the NFC-leading Atlanta Falcons, meanwhile Philadelphia travels to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If both of these teams lose, it just means they will remain tied for the pick, but any separation Oakland can get on the competition for the top pick will be helpful.
Ironically, the Raiders play both the Chiefs and Panthers in the next two weeks, so if they lose those two games, they will swiftly move up the draft order. This is a difficult time of the year for fans of losing NFL teams. They are torn between wanting their team to win and wanting to get a better draft pick. If you are part of the latter group, hopefully this guide is helpful.