Eleven NFL clubs have secured a playoff berth. Another 14 clubs have already been eliminated. Miraculously, neither the Las Vegas Raiders nor the Las Vegas Raiders appear on either of these lists.
Derek Carr & Co. still have hope of making the playoffs. They just need to beat the Los Angeles Chargers to secure a spot. The Chargers are the same. There’s a more exciting scenario. Fans of NFL chaos should root for this scenario, if not bet on.
Here are the possible clinching situations heading into Week 18:
- The Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 and the Raiders and Chargers play each other in a de facto playoff game with the winner clinching a postseason berth.
- The Indianapolis Colts are clinched by losses to the Steelers, Chargers, and Ravens. If the Steelers lose on Monday night to the Cleveland Browns, Indy would also get in with a Chargers loss, a Dolphins win and another Pittsburgh loss in Week 18.
- The Jaguars beat the Colts in Week 18, the Raiders and Chargers tie and both make the playoffs.
This scenario is certain to create one of the most bizarre games in NFL history. Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley explains it well:
Here is something completely absurd: If the Colts lose Sunday to the Jaguars, both the Raiders or Chargers would be in with a tie. Literally, there would be no motivation for either team to do anything other than kneel it out 15 times each.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) January 3, 2022
The Colts take on the Colts at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Chargers and Raiders don’t kickoff until 7: 20 p.m., meaning if the Jags win there’s no reason L.A. and Vegas to do anything but play Duck, Duck, Goose at midfield for four quarters in primetime. The teams may play for bragging rights in AFC West but risk losing out on extra paychecks in playoffs. It’s not possible to pay your bills with pride.
Jacksonville must win this upset to make it a serious topic. The Jags are +15.5 underdogs at home (+750 on the moneyline) at Tipico Sportsbook and just gave up 50 points to the New England Patriots. They will likely struggle against a Colts team that is fighting for its existence. But if you were already planning to bet on Jacksonville bouncing back in the season finale, there’s no reason not to sprinkle a little extra on a Jags ML + Chargers-Raiders Tie parlay (+12000 at Tipico).
In a season filled with chaos, it almost feels wrong not to place a bet against more. You can root for a tie this Sunday.
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