LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive with a 23-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, setting fan and business sights on what could easily be the most important game yet played inside Allegiant Stadium when the Los Angeles Chargers come to town next week.
The final game of the Biggest Season Ever.
Winner to the #NFLPlayoffs!
— NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2022
Raiders fans and business owners alike are banking on the Raiders pulling through for their first playoff appearance since 2016.
"A playoff game would be absolutely insane for this city," said Angela Gardonio-Badaloni, manager of Sports Town USA.
She said the extra Raiders games would encourage people to buy jerseys, hats, and a lot more from her locally owned store.
"Playoffs always bring a nice uptick of traffic," she said, "and they always bring a really cool variety of customers out, too, which I always get excited for. There are always those people that only really care about the playoffs."
Cisco Ortega, president of the Black Hole Las Vegas Chapter, said his group of superfans are ready for the playoff drought to be broken — especially after a crazy year for the team.
"They would have to do some kind of '30 for 30' on this team if they did," he said.
Ortega said it's hard to believe the team is in a position to finish the regular season with a winning record — much less a playoff appearance — after losing Head Coach Jon Gruden to an email scandal, star wide receiver Henry Ruggs III to arrest following a deadly DUI crash, and corner Damon Arnette to off-the-field behavior.
"It's just one thing after another," he said. "It's like, what else can happen? I think it will really show the NFL world what this team is made of, what they had to overcome to get to this point."
Ortega said there's one thing the last game of the regular season really boils down to: "Just win, baby."
"I think Raider Nation is going to be up and ready to be loud," he said.
The Chargers will travel to Allegiant Stadium to face the Raiders on Jan. 9 with a kickoff scheduled for 5:20 p.m.