Explained: How Chargers and Raiders can both qualify for playoffs by simply taking a knee

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Ian Van Roy

The idea of a win-and-in game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders seems like a no-brainer.

However, thanks to an odd series of circumstances, there is a chance that the last game of the NFL's regular-season could send both competing teams to the playoffs.

Here's how the Chargers and Raiders can eliminate one another or can cooperate so both can make the playoffs, according to USA Today.

Chargers-Raiders: how a tie could send both teams to the playoffs

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers

Put simply, there is a chance that the Chargers and Raiders, two teams playing for a playoff spot, could both make the playoffs. To do so, the Chargers and Raiders would need to tie.

But before this happens, the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to pull off an upset against the Indianapolis Colts.

As it is a divisional matchup, it is not outside the realm of possibility. If the Lions can beat the Cardinals, the Jaguars can beat the Colts.

If the Jaguars upset the Colts, it would set up a win-and-in game for both the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. The game, already set to be broadcast on Sunday Night Football, would put both teams in a predicament.

If the Jaguars win. The Raiders Chargers game could be interesting.

By playing to eliminate each other, each team opens themselves up to the possibility of losing and being eliminated from the playoffs.

However, if they were to join forces in a Hunger Games-esque twist, each team could assure themselves a playoff spot. To join forces, each team would need to agree to a tie.

Here's something totally bonkers: If the Colts lose to the Jaguars Sunday, the Raiders and Chargers would both get in with a tie. Literally, there would be no motivation for either team to do anything other than kneel it out 15 times each.

Stay with me as this scenario is possible, although highly unlikely to occur.

The mechanics of getting a game to a tie artificially are simple. Each team would need to take a knee each time they get the ball.

It would knock off roughly two minutes per drive and could have the game end in roughly 90 real-time minutes after factoring in halftime and advertisements.

It is a classic case of a prisoner's dilemma. Essentially, each team would possibly be tempted to get a cheap win as the game got closer to the end.

One team could betray the other at any moment, and then a game would be on.


The result would arguably be the strangest game in NFL history. It would be a game of kneeling until the fourth quarter when all bets are off after one team blinks first.

Will this come to pass? Most likely not. But one can only hope to see the Jaguars beat the Colts to see how the Chargers and Raiders react on Sunday Night Football.

Also check out: San Francisco 49ers Playoff History, Appearances, Wins and more

Edited by LeRon Haire
Article image

Go to article

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now