While the Raiders' 59-14 victory over the Broncos was surprising to most, it was disappointing to the Patriots.
That's because New England owns the rights to Oakland's first-round draft pick next year, acquired in the Richard Seymour trade last summer. At the time, it looked to be a sure thing that the Pats would be receiving a top-five or at worst a top-10 pick, but thanks to some impressive performances thus far, Oakland's putting that in jeopardy.
Sunday's demolition of the Broncos was the Raiders' third win of the season, something that was hard to predict after last year's 5-11 finish.
While a 3-4 record doesn't have the folks in Oakland preparing trips to Dallas for this year's Super Bowl, and while a 5-11 finish this year still isn't an impossibility, the Raiders are well out of the bottom third of the league standings.
If the season ended today, the Patriots would be drafting between No. 11 and 13 (strength of schedule is the tiebreaker, and two other teams are currently 3-4).
While they may fall in the standings, it appears that at this point, they're in better shape than the 0-6 Bills, 1-5 Lions, 1-5 Panthers and 2-5 Browns. The rest of the field, though, includes teams that should be better (Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, Minnesota), so a bottom-five finish is still a real possibility.
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