Picture of the Chargers playoff: How can Los Angeles win an AFC place with a wild card in week 18

The Chargers (9-7) are on the verge of returning to the AFC playoffs for the first time since the 2018 season. Los Angeles has already improved its 7-9 record from 2020 to 9-7, with one match remaining in the NFL’s expanded 2021 schedule.

But rookie coach Brandon Staley’s first year will feel disappointing without placing a wild card behind the winning AFC West Chiefs, as the Chargers have an elite young QB in Justin Herbert.

Here’s what the Chargers need to do to ensure that both Los Angeles teams advance to the playoffs before Super Bowl 56 is played there:

WEEK 18 TIPS: Against proliferation Straight up

Picture of NFL playoffs: Chargers’ chances in the playoffs

The Chargers, the current seven and last player, have only one way to get to the AFC playoffs: not to lose in week 18. On Sunday night, the Raiders must either beat or match their favorites in field goals (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).

Los Angeles beat Las Vegas at home on Week 4, 28-14. The Raiders are the current AFC No. 8 team after beating the 6th Colts in Week 17, also 9-7.

The Chargers will be in the playoffs at 10-7 or 9-7-1, as they will win the draw over the Raiders in both cases.

However, the Chargers can’t make it to the playoffs at 9-8. That would also make the Raiders 10-7 and put them in front of the Chargers.

In one game over 0.500, the Chargers could end in a draw with one or all of the following three teams: the Colts (losing to the Jaguars), the Dolphins (if they defeat the Patriots) and / or the Ravens. (if defeats the Steelers).

The Chargers lost to the Ravens in Week 6, so they lost a head-to-head tiebreak there. Since the Chargers would also drop to 6-6 in the AFC game, they would lose the tiebreak conference record with the Colts, with whom they did not play. The Chargers would also lose a tiebreaker of joint games in favor of the Dolphins, with whom they also did not play.

It all prepared for a pre-playoff game for the Chargers, all because they failed to beat the Texans in week 16.


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