- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Oakland Raiders are the team to beat in the AFC.

Led by Derek Carr and a high-powered offense, the Raiders are 7-2 following an impressive 30-20 victory over defending Super Bowl champion Denver. Oakland enters its bye week in first place in the AFC West and getting closer to ending a 13-year playoff drought.

The Raiders are 5-0 on the road and no team wants to play them in the Black Hole.

No doubt, Jack Del Rio’s crew is headed to the Super Bowl.

That is, if Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots forget to return from their week off.

Sorry, Raider Nation. The road to Houston goes through the Patriots (7-1).

Here are other overreactions following Week 9:

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OVERREACTION: Nine down, seven to go. The Browns are one game closer to 0-16.

REALISTIC REACTION: Perhaps the Ravens overlook them on short rest and the Browns can pull off a stunner Thursday night.

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OVERREACTION: The unenthusiastic Packers (4-4) won’t make the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers questioned his teammates’ energy after a home loss to the Colts.

REALISTIC REACTION: They’re only one game behind the Vikings, who are sinking quickly.

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OVERREACTION: Matthew Stafford is the best clutch quarterback in the NFL. He’s led the Lions (5-4) to five comeback wins after trailing in the fourth quarter.

REALISTIC REACTION: Brady. Rodgers. Big Ben. Stafford’s not in the top three.

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OVERREACTION: Matt Prater is the best clutch kicker in the NFL. He’s 23 of 23 on game-tying or go-ahead field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime.

REALISTIC REACTION: There’s a guy named Adam Vinatieri.

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OVERREACTION: The Vikings will finish with a losing record. They’ve lost three in a row after a 5-0 start.

REALISTIC REACTION: They’re still first in the NFC North.

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OVERREACTION: Tim Tebow will play again in the NFL before Jared Goff. Rams fans chanted for both quarterbacks during a loss to Carolina.

REALISTIC REACTION: If Tebow wasn’t playing baseball, this could’ve happened already.

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OVERREACTION: Chuck Pagano saved his job with the Colts’ win at Green Bay.

REALISTIC REACTION: A 4-5 record is nothing to brag about.

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OVERREACTION: The Eagles are the worst team in the NFC East.

REALISTIC REACTION: They could be 7-1 instead of 4-4 if one play goes the other way in three close losses.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi


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