After the Las Vegas Raiders’ chances of making the AFC playoffs looked bleak for a month, we head to the final week of the regular season with their path to the postseason being rather simple.
There are three ways for the Raiders to qualify for the postseason.
Let’s take a look at each one:
Beat the Chargers:
This is the preferred and easiest route for the Raiders to end their playoff drought. If they beat the visiting Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, the Raiders will be in. But of course, it won’t be easy. The Chargers will make the playoffs if they win as well. So, both teams will be highly motivated in the mini-playoff game.
Colts and Steelers lose:
The Raiders could be in the postseason before they even arrive at Allegiant Stadium. If the Indianapolis Colts lose at the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Pittsburgh Steelers lose at the Baltimore Ravens, the Raiders will be in. Both of those games start at 10 a.m. PT Sunday.
That’s sounds cool, right? Sure, but don’t count on it. According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Colts are 15-point favorites to beat the 2-14 Jaguars with everything on the line. Perhaps there is some hope, as the Colts haven’t won in Duval County since 2014. If the Colts do somehow fall on their faces Sunday, the Raiders’ chance will look good. The Ravens are a 5.5-point favorite to beat the Steelers and may get quarterback Lamar Jackson back this week.
So, go Jags, apparently.
This may be weirdest playoff scenario of all time.
If the Colts lose, and the Steelers win, the Raiders still can clinch without a win. This is where the Chargers come in.
If the Raiders and Chargers tie, after an Indianapolis loss, both Las Vegas and Los Angeles would head to the postseason if they tie. So, in theory, both teams could decide to do nothing but kneel and punt for the entire game to avoid the chance of losing.
If that happens in front of a prime-time audience it would be the most remarkable end to the NFL season ever. Oh, and a lot of people would be pissed at the Raiders and Chargers.
Onto to Week 18 and all the zaniness it offers.