The second the Oakland Raiders clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2002, quarterback Derek Carr turned his focus to the Indianapolis Colts.
You can’t blame Carr for thinking that way as the Colts go into Saturday’s game needing to win to keep their playoffs hopes alive. The Raiders, with two games remaining, can clinch the AFC West division title and a first-round bye with a win and a Kansas City loss or tie, or a tie and a Chiefs loss. The Raiders visit the Denver Broncos in their regular-season finale Jan. 1.
We have to take care of business.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr
“There’s two games left and we have to take care of business,” the former Fresno State star said. “It’s on our shoulders. It’s on us and that’s all that matters. We can’t think about anything else other than getting ready for the Colts, who are a great football team. We have to make sure we prepare and compete our tails off in practice.”
When Jack Del Rio was hired as coach in January 2015, “we talked about winning the division and being in the playoffs.”
“Win the division is yet to be determined,” he said. “We need to continue to work on that. Let the fans enjoy the other part, but as a team, we’ve got to get back to work, and that’s really how it is whether you win or lose. You get ready for the next opportunity and that’s the part we can control, that’s the part we need to focus on.”
Carr doesn’t want to see his team letting up any time soon, especially with a desperate Colts team coming to Oakland.
“We’re going to give everything that we got,” he said. “(The Colts) have their back against the wall and we know we’ve had our back against the wall a couple (of) times. We’re going to come out and fight, so you have to expect that when they come in.”
The Raiders still have a shot at home-field advantage – if they win out and the New England Patriots drop one of their final two games (against the New York Jets and at Miami Dolphins) both teams would finish 13-3 and Oakland would own the tiebreaker.
Oakland and New England have four common opponents: Baltimore, Buffalo , Denver and Houston. The Raiders are 4-0 against those teams (with one more game against the Broncos), while the Patriots are 3-1.
A loss to the Broncos would still give the Raiders the top seed in the AFC should the Patriots drop one game, based on a tiebreaker scenario that comes down to strength of victory.
“It’s nice to go out there and just concentrate on the game at hand because nothing else really matters,” Carr said. “It really doesn’t this time. I say it all the time, but in real life, it really doesn’t matter. We can just go out and compete and try and win games.”