The Oakland Raiders are 4-5, despite losing two straight games. Three of the team's five losses have been by a touchdown or less, and the most recent loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a one-score game until the final four minutes. The Raiders' young core has played well this season, even if they have been a bit inconsistent at times. With that in mind, here are Three Things We Know About The Raiders Through 9 Games:
1. Playoffs Are A Real Possibility
The Raiders in the middle of the playoff race, just one game back on the last wild card spot in the AFC. Oakland has two games against the Chiefs and one against the Broncos in the final five weeks of the season, and those contests will be critical to the Raiders' playoff chances. The Raiders don't have the easiest path to the playoffs and they aren't the favorites, but they merit mentioning when discussing possible playoff teams.
2. Derek Carr Is A Franchise QB
Carr is the Raiders' QB of the future. There shouldn't be any doubts, as Carr has improved on his play from last season. He's already matched his touchdown pass total from last year with 21. He's completing 64 percent of his passes and has just six picks this season. He's 14th in QBR, ahead of players like Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. Carr might end up being the best QB in his draft class, and the Raiders were thieves by getting Carr in the second round. If anyone doubted Carr's ability early this season, they should have faith now.
3. The Future Looks Bright
The Raiders have Carr and two young offensive studs in RB Latavius Murray and WR Amari Cooper. The three are budding triplets that should have the Raiders competitive for many years. LB Khalil Mack is future superstar at LB and you can make the case he's already reached that level. Sure the Raiders' have holes, especially in the secondary, but no team is perfect. They'll likely continue to show flashes of greatness and inconsistency, as young teams often do. But the Raiders have enough key pieces at the right positions that they'll be back in the playoffs in the near future. Plus, they've got more than enough cap space to add a few talented players in free agency.