The Raiders started 3-0 and 5-2 in the 2021 NFL season. But to reach the AFC playoffs for the first time representing Las Vegas, they still need one more victory in 2022.
Going into Week 18, here’s how the Raiders can secure a wildcard playoff spot behind the Chiefs to enter the tournament heading into Super Bowl 56:
Las Vegas needs to create its own luck or roll the dice as a long shot with three total ways to clinch a playoff spot.
NFL WEEK 18 PICKINGS:
The Raiders, the current No. 8 in the AFC standings, will host the division rival Chargers, the current No. 7 seed, on Sunday night (8:20 p.m. ET). If Las Vegas can match the season series as field goal losers and exact revenge for a 28-14 loss in Week 4 in Los Angeles, it would get a spot by displacing Los Angeles with a 10-7 record.
In the unlikely event that even the Raiders face the Chargers in an overtime tie, they can still go 9-7-1 should the Colts, the current No. 6, fall to 9-8. The Colts, however, are big favorites on the road against the Jaguars. The Chargers would also make the playoffs 9-7-1 in that setting.
The Raiders would also have a chance if they lost to the Chargers. Before playing Sunday night’s game, they would need the Colts to lose the Jaguars and Ravens as minor home favorites to beat the Steelers. If those events unfold, the Raiders, Colts and Ravens would all be 9-8.
There’s no need to delve into tiebreaks at that three-way standoff. The Raiders beat the Ravens in Week 1 and the Colts in Week 17, which would put them on top of both teams as the No. 7 seed behind the Chargers.