Simply put, offense. The team has scored the seventh-most points in the NFL, has the sixth-best rushing attack, and finished the season seventh in offensive DVOA. This all comes with the caveat that it was the now-injured Derek Carr leading it (more on that later), but nevertheless, the Raiders have proven adept at putting points on the board.
Quarterback is the obvious one. Carr going down in the final weeks of the regular season, followed by another injury to backup Matt McGloin, means the season has turned into an unabridged nightmare. Defense was was the biggest concern before all this, which finished the season ranked 23rd in DVOA.
It’ll be Houston first — the weakest team in the playoffs — then probably the Patriots in New England, then either the Steelers or Kansas City. Not good, basically.
How They Can Win
Luck, mostly. Remember, the playoffs aren’t designed to reward the best team overall, but instead to crown the best team on the night, in a one-off game. Maybe opposing teams find it tough to plan for a quarterback they no almost nothing about, and the offensive system is less dependent on Derek Carr than we though. The rushing game should still be reliable, after all. All that, plus better play on defense, plus a bit more luck, and that might be the recipe.