I live for sports chaos, and even though this isn’t going to happen, there’s a whole pandemic outside, so we can dream.
If you don’t know, the NFL changed its final game of the season on Sunday night to spotlight Chargers-Raiders on the assumption that both teams will play a win-or-go-home duel for the final playoff spot.
There’s a key word there, though: assumption. Should the league-worst, laughing-stock Jaguars beat Indy earlier in the day, LAC and Vegas could both make the postseason … if they just vibed for 60 minutes and tied.
See, the AFC playoff race is super tight. The Colts, Raiders and Chargers are all 9-7 and the Steelers are 8-7-1. A loss would drop Indianapolis out of the playoff race, and Pittsburgh’s outcome wouldn’t matter if Vegas and L.A. tie due to tiebreaker rules (Steel City fell to both teams this year).
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said he won’t entertain the idea of intentionally tying. “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,” he said on The Rich Eisen Show.
Of course that’s what anyone who’s about to do something they shouldn’t do would say, but the league can also force a forfeit if it believes the teams are intentionally choking. That’d boot Derek Carr and Justin Herbert from the playoffs. Booooooo 🗣
I guess we’re just gonna have to come to grips with Chargers (-2.5) vs. Raiders being a real-life competitive game with points and tackles and running.
Takeaway: The loopholes are closed here, but it’d be pure and utter chaos if Jacksonville won anyway. It’s the only route for Big Ben & Co. to make the postseason.