DENVER — Their world was rocked when Derek Carr was rolling around the Coliseum turf in pain last week.
But the Raiders’ snap back into reality takes nothing more than realizing that coach Jack Del Rio’s primary goal sits right in front of them. Win on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and the Raiders (12-3) are AFC West champions for the first time since 2002.
“That’s what we started the year with as our number one goal,” Del Rio said, “and it remains our number one goal.”
Del Rio has preached winning the AFC West since he was first hired after the 2014 season. In 11 seasons as coach and with 170 games under his belt, he’s made two playoff appearance — both with the Jacksonville Jaguars — but has yet to win a division title.
“From Day 1, when we first met, (Del Rio) got in there, he said our mission was to win the division,” Raiders’ left tackle Donald Penn said. “We’re going in this weekend with a chance to do it. Our plan’s going. We hit a couple bumps, but it’s going.”
Del Rio emphasizes winning the division because, as he points out, it’s the only guaranteed path to the postseason. This year, though, that’s not the case. The Raiders are in no matter what.
But it’s all about the road Oakland will travel now that it’s Matt McGloin guiding the offense while Carr recovers from surgery to repair a broken fibula. Here are the options still on the table:
— No. 1 seed: With a win over the Broncos and a Miami Dolphins win over the New England Patriots, the Raiders would…
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