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Oakland Raiders first in AFC West
Nov 7, 2010; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Jeremy Ware (23) and defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) leap in celebration during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 23-20 in overtime. Photo via Newscom

Now it can be said, after ten weeks of play the Oakland Raiders are in first place in the AFC West. The Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs have identical records, but based on tiebreakers the Raiders are in possession of first place.

The Raiders started off slowly limping out of the gate to a 1-3 record. They found their mojo after that start and have gone 4-1 since. Included in that 4-1 is a 3-0 record against divisional opponents which gives them multiple tiebreaker advantages.

The first tiebreaker in any situation is the head to head records between the teams. The Raiders currently have a win against each of their division rivals, which makes any matchup against the Raiders a ‘must win’ situation.

When it comes to the second tiebreaker, the Raiders 3-0 record in the division gives them a clear cut advantage. The team the Raiders are neck and neck with, the Kansas City Chiefs now have two losses in the division. If the Chiefs sustain one more division loss, then the best they can hope for is to tie the Raiders in this category. The 4-5 Chargers, who are two games off the pace also have two division losses, one each to the Raiders and Chiefs. The Broncos only have one division loss, but with their overall record, they are playing for draft position.

The third tiebreaker is the record in common games. The Raiders are currently 4-4 in common games with the Chiefs checking in at 3-4. The only “non-common” opponent the Silver and Black has faced so far is the Chiefs themselves. The Chiefs, meanwhile have two of their wins against the only “non-common” opponents they will face in the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders face their two “non-common” opponents after the bye with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.

The Raiders have the better record in the conference, which is the fourth tiebreaker. The Chiefs were front loaded with conference games going 4-4. The Raiders have a 3-2 record and all of their non-conference games are out of the way. The Chiefs have three non-conference games left on their slate.

  • The remaining tiebreakers are:
  • Strength of victory
  • Strength of schedule
  • Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
  • Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  • Best net points in common games.
  • Best net points in all games.
  • Best net touchdowns in all games.
  • Coin toss

The Raiders have put themselves in a very good position in the tiebreaker situations. This will give them an advantage as it gets later in the season, and it is time to start crunching the playoff picture. Their best chance is going to be getting in via winning the AFC West, and owning the tiebreakers gives them a half game advantage over their opponents in the end.