Raiders coach Dennis Allen understands there is nothing to be gained from bye week bravado.

It's time for Allen's team to rest, recharge and heal up for a 10-game stretch that could ultimately determine his future.

So when asked about quarterback Terrelle Pryor's claim that the 2-4 Raiders would still get to the playoffs in the aftermath of a 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Allen declined to look that far ahead.

"That's the last thing I'm worried about," Allen said. "I'm worried about trying to get this team better. We have chances to win games. We have to figure out ways to win when we have those opportunities. We are what our record says we are, and we've got to get better."

Of Oakland's 10 remaining games, only AFC West rivals Denver and Kansas City (both 6-0) have winning records, and both games are at O.co Coliseum. There are five games against teams currently at .500, road games at the New York Giants (0-6) and Houston (2-4) and a home game in their first game back Oct. 27 against Pittsburgh (1-4).

During one brutal travel stretch, the Raiders are on the road four times in five weeks, and two of them are at the Meadowlands against the Giants (Nov. 10) and Jets (Dec. 8).

Given that the Raiders have been 2-4 eight times in the last 10 seasons starting in 2003, their fan base can be forgiven for assuming they're the same as they ever were.

If the playoffs seem far-fetched, given that it might take 8-2 to get there, here are five areas where improvement could help bring the kind of progress owner Mark Davis wants to see and get the team to .500 or beyond.

Getting healthy

Any chance the Raiders have at making a run at respectability is enhanced if center Stefen Wisniewski and tackles Tony Pashos and Jared Veldheer rejoin the lineup.

Veldheer's earliest possible return from a torn triceps is Nov. 3 against Philadelphia, although that may be ambitious.

Shoring up the line would improve the run game and better protect Pryor.

Pryor's progress

Pryor has a week to dwell on his first real taste of NFL adversity, having absorbed 10 sacks and been intercepted three times in the loss to the Chiefs. The way he handled the defeat won him points in the locker room.

"We understand it was a tough situation playing in Kansas City with the defense they have and guys going down on the line," free safety Charles Woodson said. "But he didn't make any excuses, and he understands what he has to do going forward. I think the guys on the team appreciate that."

More production out of backs other than Pryor in the running game would also lessen the pressure on him. Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings are averaging 3.9 yards per carry.

Get Janikowski going

After converting 62 of 69 field goal attempts in 2011-12, Sebastian Janikowski is 7 for 11 through six games while adjusting to new holder Marquette King. He even came up short on a 51-yard attempt against Kansas City.

Presuming the Raiders continue to stay within reach in the fourth quarter, they'll need some clutch kicks from their formerly clutch kicker.

Defensive issues

One of the NFL's worst defenses for the better part of the past 10 years, it is now the strength of their team.

In two areas they must improve -- getting more take-aways (all three interceptions came against San Diego) and keeping teams out of the end zone even on short field drives.

The Raiders have allowed 13 touchdowns in 22 red zone trips, a 59.1 percentage that ranks No. 22 and nearly 5 percent above the league average of 54.2 percent.

"Execution in the red zone is the biggest thing we need to do, and it starts with us," defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. "We don't care where they get the ball. Our job is to stop them."

More happy returns

Under special teams coach Bobby April, the Raiders have been one of the top coverage teams in the NFL, giving up just 19.0 yards per kickoff return with a long of 32 yards and 8.4 yards per punt return with a long of 23.

However, the Raiders have yet to get Jacoby Ford loose on kickoff returns. They're averaging 23.1 yards with no return longer than 30 yards. The longest punt return of 30 yards belongs to Phillip Adams.

Setting up short field drives or scoring touchdowns could change games, particularly in games when the offense is struggling.

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders.