Oakland has won 3/4, Kansas City next.

With three wins in their last four games and their first two-game winning streak in more than a year, the Raiders would appear to have finally turned their season around. But with a key divisional showdown in Kansas City on Sunday, Oakland is going to find out whether it's back in the hunt for good.

''We know where our division is, we know how the teams are going and we know we can't afford to go lose a division game,'' Turner said Monday. ''It's a big game for us. If we were able to go win it, it would obviously be very meaningful.''

Sunday's 35-24 win over Tennessee was meaningful in that it kept the Raiders from falling further out of contention in both their own division and in the AFC overall. At 3-4, Oakland sits 2 1/2 games behind first-place Denver, which plays the Raiders after Kansas City.

Nine of the 16 teams in the AFC have four losses or more, meaning with a little more luck and a few more wins, Oakland could find itself right back in the thick of things.

''Everyone said it ahead of time, you forget it after the fact, but everyone kept telling me how hard our schedule was,'' Turner said. ''Then when you start poorly, it's 'You got off to a terrible start.' There's a balance in there. The key to this group is that we've got young guys and we've got guys that have been in a system they believe in. Our quarterback knows the system where he believes in it. Our defensive linemen know the system where they believe in it. And what they've done is kept working and kept playing.

''Really, with the exception of the first half of the San Diego game, we've played pretty good. We've played some good football teams and come up short. Three of the last four week's we've found a way to win.''

Kansas City (4-3) lost to San Diego (4-4) on Sunday, allowing the Broncos to pull further in front in the AFC West while clogging things up behind the Broncos. A win against the Chiefs on Sunday and a Jets win over San Diego would jump Oakland from last to second in the division.

''I said it early in the year when we were 0-3, we're a lot better football team,'' Turner said. ''This morning I looked at our first Kansas City game. We're two plays away from winning that game. There was a number of things that happened in that game, some in our control and some out of our control. That was certainly a game we could have won. Kansas City won the game, they're 4-3. We lost the game, we're 3-4. That's where this league is a little bit.''

NOTES

* Defensive end Bobby Hamilton limped slowly through the team's locker room Monday, his left ankle swollen significantly. Though X-rays taken proved negative, Hamilton will likely miss at least some practice time this week. He has a walking boot and said that he is ''day-to-day.''

* Fullback John Paul Foschi underwent minor finger surgery Sunday night, according to Turner. ''It's nothing that will keep him out,'' Turner said. ''He should be able to practice by the end of the week.''

* Defensive end DeLawrence Grant, who hasn't played the last two games because of an injury, worked out Monday and could be activated against the Chiefs. Grant's absence has opened the door for Tyler Brayton to return to defensive end. Turner credited Brayton with forcing two of the Raiders six sacks of Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair and said Brayton will continue to get playing time at defensive end in Oakland's nickel defense.

* Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was nursing sore ribs following a collision with a Titan offensive player but it's not considered serious. Same thing goes for safety Stuart Schweigert, who suffered a hip pointer during the game.

* Wide receiver Randy Moss, who was limited to three catches against Tennessee, continues to improve health-wise, according to Turner. ''He felt pretty good early in the game and he got hit pretty good,'' Turner said. ''That's the thing you can't calculate into this. He worked out this morning. He came in early and had a good workout. Rod Martin, our trainer, thought he ran pretty good. So I think he'll be another step better this week than he was last week.''

SBReport.net Recommended Stories


Up Next


Forums


26 Fans online
    Join The Conversation

    Tweets