The Los Angeles Chargers are one of the hottest teams in football with a 6-2 record and five-game winning streak to their name.
The Los Angeles Chargers did something that no AFC team has done since 2011: went into Seattle and beat the Seattle Seahawks to silence the 12th Man. Seattle has been swept by the LA teams at home this season as the Los Angeles Rams handed Seattle a 33-31 loss in Week 5.
Even though this is not the same Seahawks team, it is still very difficult to go on the road against Seattle and get a victory. Seattle still has one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson and discovered a rushing attack in Week 3 that allowed the team to win four of its last five games.
The Chargers went into Seattle, punched the Hawks right in the mouth and outran them 160 yards to 154. Melvin Gordon was the best runner of the day, carrying the ball 16 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.
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The game was close and it came down to the last play in which Wilson nearly delivered a dart to give Seattle a chance at a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. However, the game shouldn’t have even been a one-possession game if it were not for Caleb Sturgis‘ awful day in which he left five points on the table.
Now, the Chargers sit at a very pretty 6-2 and it is the team’s best start since 2006 when LaDainian Tomlinson broke the rushing touchdowns record and the Chargers had an NFL-best 14-2 record.
And while 14-2 might be a bit optimistic for the Chargers, especially considering the team has to play the Steelers and Chiefs on the road still, making the playoffs seems to be a lock after eight games.
At 6-2, the Los Angeles Chargers have the fifth seed (although the team has the second-best record) and have one and a half game lead over the seventh-best team in the AFC, the 5-4 Miami Dolphins.
After the Dolphins, the rest of the teams in the AFC have losing records. The 4-5 Baltimore Ravens, 3-4 Tennessee Titans and 3-5 Jacksonville Jaguars are the other three realistic teams still in the hunt.
Meanwhile, the Chargers play the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals in the next three weeks. While anything can happen on any given Sunday, those are three games that the Chargers should win pretty easily and should move the team to 9-2.
Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins play at Green Bay next week, have a bye and then play at Indianapolis in Week 12. Miami will lose at least one of those games and probably will lose both; the team is not so great against good quarterbacks and the 5-4 record is a bit misleading.
This puts the Dolphins, at best, at 6-5 after Week 12. With games against the Patriots, Vikings and Jaguars after Week 12, the best the Dolphins can finish seems to be 8-8. The Chargers should already have nine wins by Week 12.
As for the Jaguars, they are a bit further behind with a 3-5 record. Them, the Colts and the Titans will all be battling to try and secure that second Wild Card spot and will eventually even each other out. I would not be surprised if all three of those teams finish within a game of each other, with the best finishing at 8-8. The Chargers should already have nine wins by Week 12.
The biggest threat to pass up the Chargers is the Baltimore Ravens, however, three straight losses have really hurt the team’s chances and the team’s stock as well. The Ravens have a bye next week before playing the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders.
Baltimore then heads on the road for two straight road games in Atlanta and in Kansas City and return home for the Buccaneers. I think it is fair to say that a good outcome in those games for the Ravens would give the team a 7-7 record heading into the Week 16 matchup against the Chargers.
Meanwhile, even if the Chargers only win one against the Steelers, Bengals and Chiefs in Weeks 13-15, the team will still have a 10-4 record and would have already clinched a playoff spot.
It is going to take a pretty big meltdown for the Los Angeles Chargers to not make the playoffs and that is even with us assuming that the Chiefs and Steelers get the best of LA.