Everything has been going right for the LA Chargers over the last month or so. On top of winning four games in a row, the Bolts have gotten just about every outcome they needed to climb up the AFC ladder. With a win over the LA Rams in Week 17, the Chargers have clinched at least the sixth seed. With a Baltimore Ravens loss on Sunday night, the Bolts are currently the fifth seed.
Getting the fifth seed is a huge difference for the Bolts. This would match the Chargers up against the winners of the AFC South instead of having to play one of the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, or Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers have to get through those teams anyway but would benefit from an easier round-one matchup.
The Bengals and Bills play on Monday Night Football in Week 17 in a game that could have huge implications for the one seed. Not only will Kansas City Chiefs fans be rooting for the Bengals but Chargers fans should be as well as a Bengals win on Monday could prove huge for the Bolts in Week 18.
How a Bengals win over the Bills could help the Chargers in Week 18:
The NFL already announced the two games that will be played on Saturday in Week 18. The Chiefs will square off against the Raiders in the afternoon game while the battle for the AFC South crown will be the Saturday night primetime game.
As it stands right now, the league is reportedly considering two different options for the Sunday night game — either the Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions or the Bengals vs Ravens. It appears that the league is leaning towards putting Aaron Rodgers in primetime with the playoffs on the line.
However, the Lions could be dead by the time that game is played depending on what happens earlier in the day. That is what makes the Bengals-Ravens an option but only if the Bengals lose in Week 17. If that happens, the AFC North title will be on the line in Week 18, which obviously has massive implications.
If the Chargers win, the winner of that game would be the third seed while the loser would fall all the way down to the sixth seed. That is a primetime game in the making and unfortunately for the Bolts, this does not give them the luxury of potentially resting starters in Week 18. They would play sooner in the day and would have to play the starters and play for the win.
However, if the Bengals beat the Bills and the AFC North crown is not on the line in Week 18 then we could see the Bengals-Ravens in the earlier slate of games. With it being played in Cincinnati, it could get a 10 a.m. PT start time. That would be massive for the Chargers, as they would get to watch the scoreboard to see the outcome of that game.
If the Ravens are losing handily then the Chargers can rest the starters knowing that they will still get the fifth seed with a loss. If the game is close, the Chargers can start the starters and pull them early once the game goes final (assuming Baltimore loses).
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Even if the league makes Cincy and Baltimore play later, the Chargers would have the benefit of watching the scoreboard with that game and making game-management decisions late accordingly.