The Oakland Raiders entered Week 17 of the NFL season with hopes of claiming the top spot in the AFC. What they needed for that to happen, for starters, was the New England Patriots to lose to Miami. However, even after the Pats won their game Oakland had something to play for against Denver as the Raiders wanted to win to guarantee the No. 2 seed and a playoff bye through Wild Card Weekend.

Oakland lost, KC won

However, that went wrong as well on Sunday for the Raiders. Oakland, who lost 24-6, fell to 12-4 on the season, and the Kansas City Chiefs, who beat San Diego 37-27, won their game to improve to 12-4.

That makes the Chiefs the No. 2 seed in the AFC via tiebreakers and they are the ones that get the first-round bye through Wild Card Weekend. Meanwhile Oakland will play on the road at Houston, a game that the Raiders could lose without their starting QB healthy, while KC prepares to host in the divisional round.

A 12-4 team having to play on the road in the first-round of the playoffs certainly is a cruel fate for Oakland. Their hopes for success are only somewhat redeemed by the fact that the Houston Texans are one of the weaker teams in the NFL playoffs. The Texans, who are -49 on net points, are the worst team in the post-season from that point of view. They are only a 9-7 team and perhaps that does make them a bit vulnerable.

AFC playoff seeds

However, a Derek Carr-less Oakland team certainly doesn't look like a lot to be afraid of. They only managed six points against the Broncos, a team that had nothing to play for, with QB Connor Cook throwing for just 150 yards. Matt McGloin also saw some action as he went 6 for 11 for just 21 yards on the day.

The entire AFC playoff picture is now as follows:

  • #1 New England Patriots
  • #2 Kansas City Chiefs
  • #3 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • #4 Houston Texans
  • #5 Oakland Raiders
  • #6 Miami Dolphins

That's a look that no one in Oakland was thinking of just a couple weeks ago. However, an injury in the starting quarterback position often changes everything. Oakland have a fighting chance, but it is hard to picture them surviving Wild Card Weekend. Even though Houston are just 9-7 on the year, when hosting they went 7-1 on the season.