ALAMEDA -- Raiders coach Dennis Allen was careful to avoid two words during Friday’s press conference: playoffs and postseason.
The inference, however, was clear.
If the Raiders are to compete for a wild-card spot, they’d better win Sunday’s home game against Philadelphia.
“If we’re going to do something, we need to start making some sort of move,” Allen said. “The consistency with our football team is something I’ve talked about a lot, and that’s what we’ve got to develop. We need to go out and play well against Philadelphia.
“It’ll be a heck of a challenge for us, but if we’re ever going to become the team we think we can become, then we need to put some things together. I think our guys our ready. We’re excited about the opportunity, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Contemplating a playoff berth even in Week 9 seemed preposterous in the preseason, when the Raiders weren’t given even a puncher’s chance. They have one now. They sit at 3-4, just a game back a battle for the No. 6 seed, with games against three of the four teams ahead of them in the race.
Now, team captain Lamarr Houston says, is not the time to daydream.
“It’s still about the process of winning games,” Houston said. “We can’t think about a winning streak or anything like that. We have to stay in the moment.”
Present confidence is high at Raiders HQ. There’s a belief that a midseason run is possible, even with road games featured heavily on the upcoming slate.
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“For as hard as we all work, I expect them to believe that we’re going to get more than four wins, more than eight wins,” Pryor said. “That’s my mindset, and that’s guaranteed.”
With so many teams and just one slot realistically open -- either the Broncos or the Chiefs will win the AFC West, the other should take a wild card spot -- the Raiders can’t afford to lose a winnable home game.
After starting 2-4, there’s little room for error even at this point in the year. That means greater consistency from play to play, half to half and game to game. It means continuing to start fast while starting to finish strong.
Misstep on Sunday and goals might have to change.
“I think our guys recognize the importance of every football game that we play from here on out,” Allen said. “I think they’ve done a great job of preparing themselves this week and getting ready for a good football team. Now it’s time to go out and play.”