If the first sign of knowing you have a problem is admitting you need help, the Raiders are on the road to recovery.
"Let's be real. You've got to be a 49er fan on Thursday and a St. Louis fan on Sunday," Raiders coach Tom Cable said Monday during his weekly media briefing.
It's a necessary departure from the Raiders' season-long philosophy of taking care of their own business, given Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Had Oakland not let a 10-point second-half lead disappear in a hail of big plays, the Raiders, by virtue of San Diego's 31-0 win over Kansas City later in the day, would have controlled their own destiny: Win out, win the AFC West.
Now, the Raiders (6-7) still must win their three remaining games, at home against Denver and Indianapolis followed by a season-ending showdown at Kansas City. But that's only step one.
Step two is that the Chargers (7-6) must lose one of their three remaining games, at home against the 49ers on Thursday night, followed by road games at Cincinnati and Denver.
Step three is for the Chiefs (8-5) to lose one of two games before they play the Raiders, at St. Louis or at home vs. Tennessee.
Any tie atop the AFC West would favor the Raiders because winning out would mean a 6-0 record within the division.
"We know what position we're in now," tight end Zach Miller said. "We need to win out, and that starts this Sunday. We're in control of our own fate. We know what the division looks like and what has to happen. All we can do right now is just win this week and we'll go from there."
"The only truth is that we were just laughing about it upstairs," Cable said. "There is absolutely no issue between Hue and I. We have a prior relationship. He's doing a marvelous job. That's stupidity on the part of whoever wrote it. We had a lot of fun with it upstairs."
After the loss to Jacksonville, Cable was asked about play calls made on third-and-three and fourth-and-three when Kyle Boller was temporarily in the game for starter Jason Campbell. Boller threw an incomplete pass and an interception, prompting questions as to why the ball didn't wind up in the hands of Darren McFadden.
"I don't know," Cable said. "That's not for me to decide right now."
On Monday, Cable said Jackson's play selections "were two great calls. We didn't execute them."
It's worth noting that as far back as last year's season-ending news conference, Cable said he was fine with bringing in an offensive coordinator and conceded he was spreading himself too thin with the duties of head coach, offensive coordinator and play calling in addition to helping with the offensive line.