The NFL is about to enter the final week of the first 17-game regular season and there are still a lot of implications for the playoffs. Not only are there three playoff spots still up for grabs but the entire seeding in both the AFC and NFC remains very much in flux.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are not among the teams wondering whether or not they’ll still make the playoffs. Capping off a season to forget, the Jaguars are currently in line for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft will cement that spot if they lose on Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts. However, if they somehow, someway find a way to win, they could create one of the strangest quirks in some time with major playoff implications.
Here's something totally bonkers: If the Colts lose to the Jaguars Sunday, the Raiders and Chargers would both get in with a tie. Literally, there would be no motivation for either team to do anything other than kneel it out 15 times each.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) January 3, 2022
As many have noticed, the Colts and Jaguars will play at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday. If the 9-7 Colts somehow lose to the lowly Jaguars, that will create a scenario in which the Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) and Los Angeles Chargers (9-7), who play one another at 8:20 p.m. ET, would be better off simply kneeling out the game for a tie so that both of them make the playoffs over the Colts. Otherwise, the winner will make the playoffs but the loser could find themselves on the outs. The Chargers have more of an incentive to do this as the Raiders hold the tiebreaker over the Colts while the Chargers would lose out due to a worse conference record.
While all of this feels very unlikely, it’s worth noting that the Colts haven’t won at Jacksonville since 2014.
Of course, the odds that two NFL teams are going to collude to just tie the entire game are pretty much nil so it’s just an exercise in what-if. Still, it does present an interesting conundrum for the NFL schedule makers moving forward. It’s entirely possible that, if the game is tied in overtime, it greatly affects the effort that one or both teams put forward. And perhaps that would be seen as gamesmanship by many, it could also be seen as shady by others.
In any event, it certainly got people talking on social media about what could happen and whether or not it’s even remotely possible.
I need this. And then an hour of Phil Simms blaming this on Mr. Analytics. https://t.co/ZVIM3RmKWz
— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) January 3, 2022
If the Colts lose to the Jaguars = if the Arizona Wildcats make the Rose Bowl = if Nebrasketball wins an NCAA Tournament game. https://t.co/svGJBeKAum
— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek) January 3, 2022
Now wait just a minute here… https://t.co/RY6ugubd8k
— Adam Crowley (@_adamcrowley) January 3, 2022
Totally here for this anarchy https://t.co/1brhRZDkob
— Micheal Compton (@mcompton428) January 3, 2022
So @WillBrinson just brought this up on the @picksixpod: if the Steelers win out and the Jags beat the Colts, what would stop the Chargers and Raiders from taking knees on SNF and then both making the playoffs? https://t.co/7b5UTnMbNc
— ryan wilson (@ryanwilsonCBS) January 3, 2022
It's literally the Prisoner's dilemma and I would be willing to bet money the Raiders and Chargers, like most people, would not cooperate despite it being in their best interests to do so https://t.co/wXNl8lBTYY https://t.co/oOBLNgHQtQ
— Ti Windisch (@TiWindisch) January 3, 2022
We’ll see if the Colts can make this whole thing moot by 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.