The Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders are two of the three AFC teams still alive for the final two playoff spots in their conference, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While it is a win-and-get-in situation for both teams, a loss will knock the loser out entirely, thanks to two crazy games from the early-afternoon window. The Jacksonville Jaguars upsetting the heavily-favored Indianapolis Colts knocked them out entirely. The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) are still alive by the skin of their teeth by defeating the Baltimore Ravens on the road in overtime.
Because Pittsburgh almost tied for the second time this season, what happens if the Bolts and the Silver and Black end up tying on Sunday night in primetime?
AFC playoffs: What happens if the Chargers at Raiders game ends in a tie?
If the Chargers and Raiders decide to take a bunch of knees and end this bad boy in a 0-0 tie, both teams would make the AFC playoffs. The Chargers would be the No. 6 and would probably face the Buffalo Bills as the No. 3 seed. The Raiders would be the No. 7 seed and would face the arch rival Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. This scenario has the Steelers on the outside looking in.
Los Angeles would have the head-to-head tiebreaker over Las Vegas to get that No. 6 seed and avoid the Chiefs entirely. Las Vegas would have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers from their early-season meeting. While it serves both teams to take a bunch of knees and get to the postseason as healthy as possible, this is not quite a perfect Nash equilibrium for both parties.
So welcome to the greatest game of game theory we have seen in the NFL in some time! Even if the Chargers and Raiders are bitter division rivals, they can get the last two spots into the postseason and leave the Steelers hanging. However, getting the No. 6 seed is way more advantageous than being the No. 7 seed if you are the Raiders. They will want to win big time.
Since the Raiders have less of an incentive to tie, the Chargers will have to play hard in Week 18.
Published at Sun, 09 Jan 2022 22:40:15 +0000