When the NFL decided to move the Chargers-Raiders game to Sunday night in Week 18, the league did it to add as much drama as possible to the final game of the 2021 season. However, there is one bizarre scenario that could take all the drama out of the Sunday night game and that scenario would also be the league’s worst nightmare.
If Jacksonville pulls off the monstrous upset, that will open the door for BOTH the Raiders and Chargers to make the playoffs. The NFL is hoping the game in Las Vegas will be winner-take-all, but with a Colts loss, the game wouldn’t necessarily be a winner-take-all and that’s because A TIE would get both teams into the postseason (while either team winning would still mean a playoff berth, with the losing team eliminated from contention).
If that option is even on the table, that would be a nightmare for the NFL, because it means the best option for both teams would be to kneel the ball on every play to ensure a tie. If a tie actually happened on purpose, it would be even crazier, because the game is being played in the gambling capital of the world and you have to think there would be a lot of unhappy gamblers if the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Although it’s unlikely the two teams would end up taking a knee the entire game, it’s not crazy to think they could still play for a tie. Both teams could quietly agree to just run up the middle on every play until the clock runs out.
Of course, if the Colts win, then a tie game option goes out the door, which is probably something the NFL would like to see. Although Indy seems like a lock to beat the Jaguars — after all, the Colts are favored by 15.5 points — it’s no sure thing. For one, the Colts haven’t won in Jacksonville since 2014. Also, let’s not forget that in their past 33 games, the Jaguars are:
- 2-2 against the Colts.
- 2-27 against everyone else.
For whatever reason, the Jags always play the Colts tough at home. There’s a good chance everyone at NFL headquarters will be hoping the Colts win so they can avoid the potential catastrophe of playing a Sunday night game where the best outcome for both teams is to tie.
The idea of the Raiders and Chargers trying to play for a tie might seem preposterous, but something similar has actually happened before. In the 1982 World Cup, West Germany and Austria knew a 1-0 win by the Germans would allow both teams to advance to the knock-out round and that’s exactly what happened. The West Germans scored in the first 10 minutes and then everyone pretty much stood around for the rest of the game.
That’s not to say the Raiders and Chargers will do that, but we’ve seen crazy things happen on the final Sunday night of the year before. For instance, take last year. To preserve a high draft pick, former Eagles coach Doug Pederson benched Jalen Hurts for NATE SUDFELD in the fourth quarter of a three-point game against Washington. The benching basically ensured that the Eagles would lose, which allowed them to get the sixth overall pick instead of the 10th overall pick that they would have gotten if they won.
If the Eagles were willing to tank for a draft pick, it doesn’t seem so crazy to think that the Chargers and Raiders would do it to get in the playoffs. The NFL would be irate if this happened, which is why the league will likely be rooting for the Colts to beat the Jaguars.