The Chargers (9-7) are about to return to the AFC playoffs for the first time since the 2018 season. Los Angeles has already improved their record from 7-9 in 2020 to 9-7 with one game remaining on the schedule. NFL expanded from 2021.
But rookie coach Brandon Staley’s first year will feel like a disappointment without a wild-card spot behind the winning AFC West Chiefs, given the Chargers have an elite young quarterback in Justin Herbert.
Here’s what the Chargers need to do to make sure both Los Angeles teams make the playoffs before Super Bowl 56 to be played there:
NFL Playoffs Image: Chargers’ Playoff Chances
The Chargers, the current No. 7 and final seed, have only one way to reach the AFC playoffs: not lose in Week 18. They must beat or tie the Raiders on the road as field goal favorites on Sunday night (8). : 8pm ET, NBC).
Los Angeles comfortably beat Las Vegas at home in Week 4, 28-14. The Raiders are the current No. 8 team in the AFC after beating the No. 6 Colts, also 9-7, in Week 17.
The Chargers will be in the playoffs either 10-7 or 9-7-1 because, either way, they will win the tiebreaker head-to-head over the Raiders.
However, the Chargers cannot reach the playoffs with a 9-8 record. That would also leave the Raiders 10-7 and put them ahead of the Chargers.
In a game above .500, the Chargers could end up tied with one or all of the following three teams: the Colts (if they lose to the Jaguars), the Dolphins (if they beat the Patriots) and / or the Ravens (if they beat to the Steelers).
The Chargers lost to the Ravens in Week 6, so they lose the tiebreaker head-to-head there. As the Chargers would also fall to 6-6 in the AFC game, they would lose the conference-record tiebreaker to the Colts, whom they did not play. The Chargers would also lose the common game playoff to the Dolphins, who they also didn’t play.
He set everything up for a playoff game before the playoffs for the Chargers, all because they couldn’t beat the Texans in Week 16.