If the Raiders can win their final game of the season, they will advance to the postseason. In Week 18 they will host the Los Angeles Chargers in what is effectively a playoff preview. Or is?
Even if they lose to the Chargers next Sunday, the Raiders still have a chance to enter the postseason. What causes that to occur? So, they’d have to have a lot of assistance. Here’s an example of that very situation:
What Needs to Happen For Raiders to Make Playoffs
So long. For the Raiders to advance, the Steelers need to lose once in their next two games, and the Colts need to lose on the road against the Jaguars. Even though it’s hard to imagine the Colts losing, they haven’t beaten the Jaguars in Jacksonville since 2014.
In a three-way deadlock, there’s no need to go into obscure tiebreakers. By virtue of their Week 1 victory against the Ravens and Week 17 victory over the Colts, the Raiders would be the No. 7 seed, one spot behind the Chargers in the AFC playoffs.
The Las Vegas Raiders are on the cusp of the AFC playoffs after their 9-7 record was boosted by a road field goal victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17.
Given that the Raiders haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, when they lost the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, making the postseason would be a huge deal for the Silver and Black. Even if you root for the opponent club in the AFC West, you should still be pulling for the Raiders this year.
So, what must the Raiders do to qualify for postseason play? The goal is straightforward: win in L.A.
In Week 4, the 9-7 Raiders played host to the 6-4 Chargers. Los Angeles won that game by a score of 28–14. The Raiders enter into this game on a three-game win streak against the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. After dropping their first two games, the Chargers finally managed to beat the Broncos.
Since moving to Las Vegas, the Raiders have yet to make the postseason. If they do it this year, it will be the first time they have done so in their new home. The team as a whole hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2016, when they fell in the Wild Card round to the Houston Texans. In 2002, they were the last team to advance past the Wild Card round; they eventually lost in the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If that were to happen, the Raiders would finish the regular season undefeated. Since their six-game winning streak in 2016, they haven’t won four in a row.
The National Football League is going to enter an era of chaos. The final two weeks of the regular season will definitively determine which teams belong and who do not.