The Los Angeles Chargers are the hottest team in football and leading the way is veteran quarterback Philip Rivers.
Los Angeles is riding a four-game win streak dating back to the 54-24 dismantling of the Buffalo Bills. If it wasn’t for bad coaching in the loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars (which the Chargers easily should have won) it would be a five-game win streak. After starting 0-4 the Chargers are 7-2 of their last nine.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only team in football that can match the Chargers’ win streak, except they have doubled it at eight. Thus, the Chargers hot play as entered them into the AFC West mix and the team’s game on Saturday very well will determine the playoff fate.
Leading the charge of this strong comeback has been veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers has carried the Chargers’ organization his entire career and has not garnered the respect he deserves. Rivers easily should be considered an elite quarterback and will go down in the top ten all-time. He is that good.
In 2017, Rivers very well may flirt with adding an MVP to his very empty trophy room.
Right now, the MVP candidates seem to be locked in stone. Carson Wentz was the favorable choice, but a torn ACL will likely prevent him from winning the award. Next up is Tom Brady, who likely will win due to his sizable statistical lead. Russell Wilson has been thrown in the mix, Antonio Brown is the only non-quarterback with a chance.
The other LA quarterback, Jared Goff, seemingly has a better shot at winning the MVP than Rivers. However, Rivers has played his butt off the last three weeks and has crept back into contention. With games against the Chiefs, Jets and Raiders, if the Chargers finish 7-0 to make the playoffs Rivers’ impact will be undeniable.
That will easily be shown on the stat sheet. Right now, Rivers is already among the NFL’s best in passing. Rivers is fourth in the NFL in yards (3,611), fifth in touchdowns (23) and eighth in rating (97.2). Only Alex Smith, Tom Brady and Carson Wentz have had a better touchdown to interception ratio than Rivers this season.
Over the last three weeks, Rivers has thrown for 1097 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. If averages persist, this would put Rivers at 4708 yards and 29 touchdowns by season’s end. Again, with a playoff push, that kind of strong performance is hard to ignore.
However, Rivers may perform better in the last three weeks of the season than he has in the previous three weeks. The Kansas City Chiefs allow the fifth most passing yards per game, the Oakland Raiders eighth and the New York Jets 14th.
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If Rivers can somehow manage to pass for 400 yards each game — which is more than plausible because of Keenan Allen — he would wind up with over 4800 yards. Again, Brady may end up beating that mark, but the greatest of all-time is definitely rendering voters’ fatigue.
Rivers is a new face in the discussion and the Chargers’ 7-0 finish would be a great story to tie to the MVP. Although the award should be awarded to the best player, these kinds of things sway voters. At this point, everyone has become numb to Brady’s greatness. It is expected.
Will Rivers win the award? Probably not. It would take insane performances over the last three weeks of the season to steal the award away from Tom Brady. However, it certainly is plausible and it is more than likely that Rivers name will at least be thrown into the hat.
And when that does happen, remember, you heard it here first.