There’s still plenty up for grabs in Week 18 with five teams—the Colts, Chargers, Raiders, Steelers and Ravens—competing for the AFC’s final two Wild Card spots. For the Colts, it’s as simple as win and you’re in. But, in the unlikely event that Indianapolis loses—they’re colossal 15.5-point favorites at Jacksonville—the Chargers and Raiders, who play at 8:20 PM ET on Sunday, will have a decision to make.
The division rivals could, at least in theory, broker a tie that would allow both teams to reach the playoffs. It would infuriate fans who paid good money for tickets (with fees included, the cheapest seats available are going for $375 on Stubhub), but for two playoff-starved franchises, it would be the surest path to a postseason berth.
It’s a fascinating hypothetical to ponder and would be a monumental story if it happened. Colts fans would be incensed, just as the Giants felt cheated when the Eagles benched Jalen Hurts for Nate Sudfeld in last year’s regular season finale, essentially handing Washington the division on a silver platter. Unfortunately for the anarchists among us, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen with Chargers coach Brandon Staley insisting his team has every intention of winning, regardless of the Colts/Jaguars outcome.
“That is an all-time coffee shop scenario,” Staley told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen. “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.”
Even as overwhelming favorites against the NFL’s worst team at 2-14, it should be noted the Colts haven’t won at TIAA Bank Field since 2014 and are 3-8 in their last 11 trips to Jacksonville. “This game matters too much to too many people, and we want to play our best and be proud of the result one way or another,” said Staley. “We're going to do everything we can to go win this game and play the way we're capable of playing.”
Caesars Sportsbook favors the Chargers by three points with ESPN’s FPI (Football Power Index) giving Los Angeles a 58.2 percent chance of winning. The Bolts came away victorious when these teams played in Week 4 thanks to dominant performances from Austin Ekeler (145 yards from scrimmage, two touchdowns) and Justin Herbert (three touchdowns, no interceptions).