Last season the Las Vegas Raiders beat the LA Chargers in Week 18 to keep them out of the playoffs. With much different stakes in Week 13, the Raiders were still able to land a similarly devastating blow by beating the Chargers, 27-20.
The Chargers entered halftime with a lead and the chance to extend said lead with the ball after halftime. If things went as planned, the Chargers could have controlled the game in the second half and secured a huge win to move to 7-5.
Instead, for what feels like the millionth time this season, the Bolts put together an extremely ugly second half in which their only points had to come via an absolutely insane fourth-and-12 touchdown to Keenan Allen. The main culprit in this game was offensive line injuries as the Chargers came into the game without three of their five starting O linemen. Zion Johnson got hurt in the fourth quarter, leaving Matt Feiler as the only starter for most of the game.
And it showed. Justin Herbert was pressured at an asinine rate and the offense could not get anything going as a result. This banged-up offensive line made the Raiders' pass-rush look like it was full of Lawrence Taylors. It was painful to watch.
The Chargers' playoff chances took a huge dive with the loss.
Two key matchups happened for the Chargers prior to their game against the Raiders. The New England Patriots lost on Thursday Night Football and the New York Jets lost as part of the morning slate. According to the New York Times' NFL playoff simulator, the Bolts had a 48% chance of making the playoffs after these outcomes.
A win against the Raiders would have catapulted the Chargers into great shape. They would have had a 68% chance of making the playoffs at 7-5. Nothing is guaranteed (obviously) but that would have put them in great shape.
Instead, the loss to the Raiders drops their perceived chances to 34%. It might not be zero percent, but there is a big difference between 68% and 34%. What this is not calculating is the team's next two games as well.
The Chargers essentially have to get to 10 wins to be a playoff team in the AFC. This means that they have to go 4-1 to finish out the season. The problem is that they play the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans over the next two weeks. Those are two teams that the Chargers are going to be underdogs against and are going to have a very hard time beating.
That is what made the Raiders game so important. The Chargers desperately had to win the games that they were "supposed" to win. Instead, they are in a situation where if they lose to Miami next week, their odds drop to 13%. If they also lose to the Titans, it is all but over.
And plus, after losing to the Raiders and barely beating every team they have beaten this year, can we really expect them to beat either the Dolphins or Titans? After Sunday's outcome it feels like the Chargers season will be over before Christmas.