The playoff picture in the AFC has largely taken shape after Saturday’s slate of NFL games, and there are just a few minor details to be sorted out on Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who have played solid football over the last few weeks, clinched the AFC South and the fourth seed in the conference with a 20-16 win over their divisional rival Tennessee Titans, giving them their fifth win in a row.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers are currently in the fifth seed, which means if the playoffs started right now, they would face the Jaguars in the wild card round.
That would seem to be a favorable matchup for the Bolts, especially given the youth and inexperience of Jacksonville’s key players.
But falling to the sixth seed would mean L.A. would play the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals to start the postseason, which would mean instant danger.
Here’s your full, complete and updated AFC playoff clinching scenarios entering the final day of the regular season. pic.twitter.com/FXIcmDsiFh
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 8, 2023
Suddenly, its Week 18 matchup versus the Denver Broncos, which some thought had little to no importance, carries plenty of importance.
Granted, if the Bengals win their Sunday matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, which starts at 1 p.m. Eastern time, the Chargers will automatically clinch the fifth seed, which could happen before they even kick off.
Otherwise, there should be plenty of motivation for them to give 100 percent against Russell Wilson and company.
Although Denver has one of the worst offenses anyone can remember seeing in recent memory, its pass defense is rather solid, which means there is a chance that Justin Herbert‘s squad will fall short.
Los Angeles has won just two playoff games in the last 13 years, and doing so this time around has to be priority one for it, which means first getting the fifth seed.