Many fans would call the Las Vegas Raiders the biggest rival that the LA Chargers have. While the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are also big rivals, the Raiders get a special kind of hatred from Chargers fans and it has been that way for decades.
This has intensified recently as the Raiders were the team to keep the Chargers out of the playoffs in 2021. Not only that, but Vegas' shocking win over the Chargers in Week 13 hurt the Bolts' playoff chances. If the Bolts would have won that game they would currently be the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture with a 8-6 record.
Even when they are not playing the Bolts, Chargers fans always root against the Raiders. The next-best thing behind a Chargers win is a Raiders loss. Regardless of what happens with the Bolts, fans can take joy in the struggles that Raiders fans have had to endure for two decades.
All that being said, Chargers fans have to do the unthinkable in Week 15. Not only should fans not root against the Raiders, but they should be rooting for them to win. I know, it's gross.
Why Chargers fans have to root for the Raiders in Week 15:
It is simple: for the playoffs. The Las Vegas Raiders are hosting one of the teams that are in the mix for one of the final two AFC playoff spots: the New England Patriots. As it stands right now, the Patriots are the seventh seed in the AFC with a better AFC record than the Chargers.
The Patriots losing this game could put them an entire game behind the Chargers in the standings while also hurting their AFC record. According to The New York Times' NFL playoff simulator, the Bolts would have a 72% chance of making the playoffs if they win and the Raiders lose.
Even if the Chargers lose, New England losing would help the team. LA has the easiest remaining schedule in the league against the Indianapolis Colts, LA Rams and Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, the Patriots play one of the toughest remaining schedules against the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.
Every game counts at this point in the year and the Patriots losing to the Raiders would give the Chargers that extra bit of cushion in case New England shocks one of its final three opponents.
But even better, a loss in Week 15 could essentially end the Patriots' hopes altogether and take them out of the running. While they will still be in the mix at 7-7, they would essentially have to win out to make the playoffs and everyone knows that is not happening with that final schedule.
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The fewer teams in the AFC playoff picture the better and for that reason, Chargers fans have to make the disgusting decision to root for Las Vegas. But just this once.