There’s no sugar coating it: The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers do not like each other. For years, the two teams have been among the most hated rivals in the NFL. The two fan bases especially don’t get along. It’s almost perfect that they will be playing each other to get into the playoffs in Week 18.
While there are some scenarios where either team can get in without winning the game, the easiest path for both is to win. A win guarantees either team a spot in the playoffs. However, there is one scenario where things could get really complicated. According to Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network, if the Indianapolis Colts fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, both the Raiders and Chargers would get into the playoffs with a tie.
The idea is that the two teams would make an agreement before the game to simply kneel every play until the clock runs out and the game is a tie. That’s the only way both teams are guaranteed a playoff spot. There’s never been something like that to happen in the NFL but it’s something to consider. If the Colts lose and the Chargers and Raiders play out the game as normal, one of them won’t be in the playoffs.
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Brandon Staley Addresses Scenario
While from a competitive standpoint, it could make sense for both teams to tie in this scenario. However, it would be a big middle finger to all the fans at the game and watching on TV. It’s almost impossible to imagine either the Raiders or Chargers agreeing to do this. In fact, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has ruled it out.
“That’s a pretty loaded scenario. That is an all-time coffee shop scenario,” Staley told The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday. “I feel like I’m with my buddies at the University of Dayton. I think we all respect the game and the NFL shield and the integrity of this game far too much to be complicit in something like that. This game matters too much to too many people, and we want to play our best and be proud of the result one way or another. We’re going to do everything we can to go win this game, and play the way we’re capable of playing. I hope all the fans and everybody who loves the NFL will be proud of the game on Sunday.”
It was a fun thought exercise but the Raiders and Chargers are both coming to play to win on Sunday.
Raiders Can Lose & Still Make Playoffs
A premediated tie is off the table but things could still get interesting. The Chargers need a win or a tie to get into the playoffs no matter what happens around the league. That’s not the case for the Raiders. If both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Colts lose their Week 18 games, Las Vegas is going to the playoffs regardless of the outcome of Sunday Night’s game.
Those games will be played before the Raiders hit the field so they will know their destiny. The players want to play but if they already have a playoff spot, it could be wise to consider resting the starters. Quarterback Derek Carr has gotten banged up in recent weeks and could use a rest week. Tight end Darren Waller could be making his return from injury but there wouldn’t be any reason to put him at risk in a meaningless game. Obviously, there is seeding to consider but the Raiders are going to have to travel regardless of what their seeding is. It’d be a tough call but interim head coach Rich Bisaccia should strongly consider resting his starters if they’ve already locked down a playoff spot by game time.