The Los Angeles Chargers routed the Buffalo Bills 54-24 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, the Chargers effectively re-entered the playoff picture.
You know, not a lot of people give enough credit to how talented the Los Angeles Chargers are. Los Angeles boasts a scary pass rush, a pretty decent running game, a veteran quarterback that can lead the way and a slew of dangerous receivers. Thus, if any team is not fairly represented by their record, it has to be the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, the same demons that have haunted the team the last two seasons are haunting them once more. Simply put, the team seemingly is the unluckiest team in the NFL. That, mixed with a lack of a winning culture and poor management, leads to a super talented Chargers’ team to be 4-6 after 10 games.
Taking a look at the Chargers’ results and it is evident that the team easily could already be in control of the AFC West. There is absolutely no excuse for the losses against the Dolphins and Jaguars. Those wins alone put the Bolts at 6-4.
Then there was the blocked field goal game against the Broncos in week one. Although that would have gone to overtime, the Chargers were riding the momentum. If we are being extremely giving, we can move the Chargers’ line then to 7-3. The losses against the Eagles, Patriots and Chiefs were deserved — they did not play well at all in two of those three games.
7-3 would lead the AFC West right now and give the team the third best record in the AFC. Instead, Los Angeles is barely vying for a Wild Card spot at 4-6. However, if anything, their 54-24 win over the Buffalo Bills shows that the Chargers have what it takes to make the playoffs.
Right now, the Chargers are only two games behind the Kansas City Chiefs for AFC West supremacy. With a victory over Kansas City at Arrowhead stadium that is doable, but the Wild Card is a better goal.
Quite frankly, the competition for the second Wild Card is not that stern. The Ravens currently hold the spot with the Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Bengals, Texans and Raiders competing with the Chargers. Out of all those teams, the Raiders have the best shot at competing with the Chargers yet that have flopped this season.
The biggest problem for the Chargers is the Ravens remaining schedule. In the final six games, only two of which are really losable — against the Steelers and Lions. The other four are against the Browns, Bengals, Colts and Texans. Therefore, with a 4-2 finish, the Ravens will own a 9-7 record.
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However, a 9-7 finish is not out of the cards for the Chargers. The Browns and Jets are easy wins, that gives them six. Hosting the Raiders at home, with playoff implications in week 17, could also be a win; seven. The difference is going to come in the next two weeks against the Cowboys and Redskins.
Neither team is fantastic and both are very beatable, especially with Ezekiel Elliot out and the Redskins’ injury plague. Splitting those two gives the Chargers eight. Ultimately, it may come down to the game against the Chiefs, which very well will put them over the 8-8 hump.
Hey, maybe 9-7 will be enough to win the AFC West. Although the Chiefs have an easy remaining schedule, they did just lose to the New York Giants. A mad Buffalo Bills team could defeat Alex Smith in cold weather. The hosting Broncos could give them trouble late and if the Chargers beat them it moves their record to 9-7.
If that plays out, Los Angeles will hold the division tiebreaker over Kansas City. Crazier things have happened for the Chargers.
We all remember how the Bolts snuck into the playoffs in 2013 with a 9-7 record. That was following a 5-7 start. For once, maybe the Bolts can be lucky again.