The Oakland Raiders (4-5) seemed like a lock to advance to the postseason at the start of the season, but some avoidable losses have them looking like longshots in the deep AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) have a two-game advantage on the Raiders and by all accounts look like the clear favorite to win the AFC West.

The AFC playoff picture remains convoluted entering Sunday's Week 10 schedule. The Buffalo Bills (5-3), Miami Dolphins (4-4), New York Jets (4-5), Baltimore Ravens (4-5), Cincinnati Bengals (3-5), Tennessee Titans (5-3), Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3), Houston Texans (3-5), Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) and Denver Broncos (3-5) are all in the mix to compete with the New England Patriots (6-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) and Chiefs for the six total playoff berths.  

With just the Cleveland Browns (0-8) and Indianapolis Colts (3-6) essentially shut out of the playoff race, the Raiders won't have much room for error in the final stretch of the season. 

But the NFL is loaded with comeback stories and the Raiders may be poised to go on a run. Should the Raiders falter, it will be yet another disappointing season for an organization that continues to live up to its underachieving reputation.

Why The Raiders Won't Make The Playoffs

The remaining schedule is very daunting. Oakland can't afford to lose more than two games and they will be facing the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and the Chiefs. Even a 9-7 record could mean the Raiders fail to earn the wild card and almost guarantees they fail to win the division.

Meanwhile, specific players have not been at their best. Derek Carr has not looked like the MVP candidate he once was in 2016. In losses to the Chargers, Broncos and Washington Redskins, Carr failed to throw more for 171 yards. Amari Cooper, one of the league's top wide receivers in 2016, has not been in top form this season, totaling just 23 receiving yards during one three-week span.

Some of the blame can be pinned on an inconsistent offensive line and overall poor play from the receivers. The rushing attack has struggled, as well, despite the addition of Marshawn Lynch. Meanwhile, the defense is No. 26 in average yards allowed (361.1).

There may simply be too many problems for the coaching staff to fix over the next seven games.

Why The Raiders WIll Make The Playoffs

An "enough's enough" mentality may be the consensus viewpoint around Raiders practices in recent weeks. The Raiders have looked like they can't play any worse than they have through Week 8 and there seems to be too much talent on this roster to just roll over for the second half of the season. Oakland has some momentum after their win against the Dolphins and the current bye week can only help turn things around.

There are a lot of defensive issues that plagued Oakland in the first half of the season that can quickly change in the second half. The Raiders don't have an interception all season and the defense is ranked 28th in sacks (13). Yes, the Raiders defense is flawed but it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as the numbers indicate.

Reversing the mental mistakes on offense is also important. The Raiders are No. 2 in the league in offensive holding penalties

While the schedule may look ominous, there are also some positives. The Raiders will face the Broncos and New York Giants at home, and the road game against the Chargers will feel like a home game with so many Raiders fans still in the L.A. area. It's likely that Ezekiel Elliott won't be on the Cowboys roster when they travel to Oakland.

The Raiders currently have the ninth-best record in the AFC. Probable wins over the Broncos, Giants, Chargers and Cowboys mean the Raiders may need just one upset victory to perhaps sneak into the wild card.

Conclusion: The Raiders face an uphill battle. If the defense can make some inroads, Oakland will have a good shot at overcoming their tough schedule. But there is so much room for error in the NFL, and a 9-7 record to gain a wild-card berth seems like a big stretch. Jack Del Rio and the rest of the coaching staff may already be looking toward the 2018 season.