ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — 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 monthlong stretch against five teams with sub-.500 records, including Sunday's home 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."
Oakland was poised to get to .500 at this time a year ago when it won three of its first seven games under Allen. The Raiders then dropped six straight and finished 4-12.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor earlier this week guaranteed that Oakland would get its fourth win soon.
"We're definitely going to get to four wins. That part's easy," Pryor said. "Whether it's this week or next, we're going to get to four wins and get a lot more wins, I guarantee that. If we work our butts off, it's only clear for us to win. That's my mindset and that's guaranteed."
The Raiders have won back-to-back games only once under Allen. They have a chance to do that this week after holding off the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
It helps that they'll be facing an Eagles team that will be without starting quarterback Michael Vick, who is nursing a sore hamstring. Nick Foles will start against Oakland instead.
Allen, whose team has also been ravaged by injuries, doesn't care much what the circumstances are as long as the Raiders can win and build momentum for a potential stretch run.
"Like I've said from the very beginning, I like this football team," Allen said. "We need to play well and we need to be a more consistent team. That's what the good teams are able to do. I think our guys recognize the importance of every game that we play from here on out."
Oakland hasn't finished with a winning record since winning the AFC championship in 2002. Since then it's been a steady stream of new coaches and the same, disappointing results.
Pryor, however, firmly believes the Raiders have turned the corner. If they can beat the Eagles, it will just be another step in the right direction.
"I just think getting any win in the NFL is fantastic, and we need to do that," Pryor said. "No matter who we're playing it's going to be the same feeling. Winning is wining and it's better than losing, no matter who we're playing."
Notes: OT Menelik Watson, who missed nearly a month with a calf injury, is getting better after being cleared to practice this week. Watson was limited in his participation at practice Friday and is questionable to play against Philadelphia. ... Safety Tyvon Branch, OL Andre Gurode (quad) and RT Tony Pashos (hip flexor) have all been ruled out of Sunday's game.
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