It was a season marked mostly by losses for the Raiders, but they were consistent -- at least in the Associated Press Pro32 Power Rankings, which were released Wednesday.
Oakland fell again Sunday, this time losing 24-21 on the road to the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders finished the 2012 season 4-12, but remained at No. 30 in the final AP rankings of the year as chosen by the 12-member panel. It was the third week in a row that the Raiders came in at No. 30.
There were no changes in the two spots below Oakland, either. The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14) stayed at No. 31 following their 38-20 season-ending loss to the Tennessee Titans. And bringing up the rear at No. 32 remained the Kansas City Chiefs (2-14), 38-3 losers to the Denver Broncos (13-3), who finished the season No. 1 in the rankings.
Despite recording their fourth 4-12 season in the past 10 years, the Raiders managed to escape the cellar in the AP rankings. Oakland finished the season with an improved defense, and will attempt to upgrade the offense, taking the first offseason step by firing offensive coordinator Greg Knapp on Monday. It could be that better ranking days are ahead.
Comments on the Raiders by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
Chris Berman (ESPN, 30) -- Black Hole still black.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 27) -- Going to be a slow process, but keeping Dennis Allen was right move.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 29) -- Comment not available
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 30) -- Still plenty of work to be done.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 30) -- Questions at quarterback and on defense. Same old same old for a Raiders team heading into the off-season after another losing record.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 27) -- The Raiders need to find a way to keep Darren McFadden healthy. He rushed for 100 yards three times this season and the Raiders won all three games. But injuries kept him out of four games and limited him in several others. The Raiders finished just 4-12.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 30) -- Just lose, baby.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 30) -- Pride and poise are in short supply in the East Bay, along with wins.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 30) -- The 2012 roster purge was necessary to even lineup this year but no one should have fooled themselves into thinking it would mean immediate success. Not sure things will be any better next year.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 31) -- The Raiders are making changes to their offensive staff. It may take a couple of years to dig themselves out of a terrible cap situation that this regime inherited.
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 28) -- Head coach Dennis Allen fired his offensive and special-teams coordinators (Greg Knapp, Steve Hoffman) after just one season. If the Raiders don't show marked improvement in 2013, Allen will be the next one shown the door.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 29) -- It must be a new era in Oakland if the head coach isn't getting fired.