The final weekend of the NFL regular season is already creating some chaos.
Early Sunday afternoon, the Jaguars, in line for the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, defeated the AFC South rivals Colts, 26-11 in a surprising loss.
The Colts arrived Sunday with an 88 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight, needing only one victory to guarantee himself a spot on the AFC field. Now, they are in the uncomfortable position of having to wait for their fate.
But Jacksonville’s victory doesn’t just shake Indianapolis. Now, the “Sunday Night Football” duel between the Raiders and the Chargers could see both teams originally faced with a winner-take-all duel to enter the playoffs, reach the postseason, send out the Colts and keep second place in the AFC North. team offstage in what would be a unique event.
What the Jaguars’ victory means for the image of the NFL playoffs
The Colts needed a win to go 10-7 and stay ahead of the Chargers and Raiders, who enter the “Sunday Night Football” matchup 9-7. If both the Colts and Raiders won, the Raiders would have the highest position by virtue of the tiebreaker advantage, while Indianapolis would be in a place above Los Angeles.
However, the victory now means the Chargers and Raiders could make the playoffs, joining the AFC East runners-up, as wild-card teams if they both tie. This unique circumstance has heightened the theory among fans that both teams could just kneel throughout the game, run out of time, and accept the tie for both teams to reach the playoffs.
Why would this work? At 9-7-1, the Chargers and Raiders would have a better win-loss record over the Colts, who are now 9-8. The Steelers lost to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, so even with a win over the Ravens, they wouldn’t have a tiebreaker over either team. The only other team left in the picture, the Ravens, would have moved to just 9-8 with a win over the Steelers, matching them with Indianapolis and keeping them out.
But don’t think NBC and NFL executives are sweating the game too much just yet. The Raiders and Chargers are rivals, after all, and earlier in the week, Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley poured cold water on the idea of a game full of kneeling, saying the game is too important for that. throw it away. For both Staley and Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia, there is also the risk that the team with the ball at the end of regulation time will simply throw a deep pass or kick a field goal to win the game anyway and eliminate. to his rival from the AFC West of the field. postseason
NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: Chargers | assailants | foals
Los Angeles Chargers
In general, this doesn’t affect the Chargers as much as it does most other teams.
Los Angeles entered Sunday with a win-in mentality, and that remains the same. If the Chargers beat the Raiders, they make the playoffs. Not only would they make the playoffs, but they are now shaping up to be the No. 6 seed on the field with the win.
There is still a chance that they could jump as high as No. 5 with a win. The Patriots play the Dolphins and the Bills against the Jets during the 4:25 pm ET window. If the Bills lose to the Jets and the Patriots beat the Dolphins, Los Angeles would jump to No. 5 and the Bills would drop to No. 6.
las vegas raiders
Because Pittsburgh beat the Ravens, the Raiders are in a win or draw scenario, just like the Chargers. If the Raiders beat the Chargers, they can go to No. 5 if the Patriots lose to the Dolphins or if New England wins the AFC East. Otherwise, a win would move them to No. 6. If the two teams tie, the Raiders would be the No. 7 seed.
This loss is a serious blow to the Colts, who seemed determined to make the playoffs as the only ones who needed a victory against one of the worst teams in the NFL.
But after losing to Jacksonville, their only hope is that the Steelers-Ravens game ends in a draw. That didn’t happen, eliminating Indianapolis from the postseason.
The Steelers always seem to find a way. And after their win against the Ravens and the Colts’ loss to the Jaguars, Pittsburgh will make the playoffs. UNLESS the Chargers and Raiders finish tied. If that happens, both AFC West teams will make the playoffs and Pittsburgh will be left on the outside looking in.
Given how rare ties are, and reports that neither team will play for a tie, Pittsburgh has to get comfortable with where it is.
In case anyone was wondering, based on conversations I had with the Chargers and Raiders, if (if the Jags win), LA and Vegas will not purposely tie for both of them to make the playoffs.
Let’s see how this plays out …
– Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) January 9, 2022
Impact on the 2022 NFL Draft
This game would have had major implications for the draft, as Jacksonville was ranked No. 1. With a win and a loss for the Lions to the Packers, Detroit would move up (or down, depending on your perspective) to No. 1.
However, the Packers rested most of their starters against the Lions, and Detroit was able to score its third win of the season, moving to 3-13-1 on the year to lag behind Jacksonville.