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Raiders need concerted push to contend for playoffs

  • Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen gestures during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ALAMEDA — Playing in a division with the NFL's lone remaining unbeaten team is making it tough for the Oakland Raiders to stay in contention.

Coach Dennis Allen made it clear Friday that if the Raiders are to make a run at ending their 10-year playoff drought, they can't afford to lose any more ground in the AFC West.

“It's time for us,” Allen said. “If we're going to do something, we need to start making some sort of move. The consistency with our football team is something that I've talked about a lot, and that's what we have to develop.If we're ever going to become the team we think we can become, then we need to put some things together.”

The timing could be right for Oakland to make a move, too. The Raiders (3-4) are in the midst of a month long stretch against five teams with sub-.500 records, including Sunday's game against Philadelphia.

A win against the Eagles would get Oakland to the break-even point by the season's midway mark for just the third time in the last decade and would be another step forward in the franchise's rebuilding efforts that began following the death of late owner Al Davis.

That was in 2011, the year before Allen was hired by general manager Reggie McKenzie to replace former coach Hue Jackson.

Since the two men came aboard, Allen and McKenzie have orchestrated a massive makeover. Only 13 players remain on the roster from the 2011 team, nearly half of which came from that season's draft class.

“It's important for us to get to .500 this early in the season because it hasn't been done here in a while,” defensive end Lamarr Houston said.

“That would be a huge step for us as a team and proof of who we are.”

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