Saturday, January 22, 2022

This bizarre Raiders-Chargers playoff scenario is the NFL’s worst nightmare and here’s why it’s still in play

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 was one bizarre scenario that seemed improbable heading into Week 18, and that one bizarre thing was the Jaguars beating the Colts

Well, it happened. The Jaguars routed the Colts on Sunday, pulling off the monstrous upset, which opened the door for BOTH the Raiders and Chargers to make the playoffs. The NFL was hoping the game in Las Vegas would be winner-take-all, but with the Colts loss, the game isn’t necessarily 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). 

This option even being on the table tonight is 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. 

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. 

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