A promising season has been an absolute disappointment and now the Los Angeles Chargers need to end 2019 on a losing note.
The Los Angeles Chargers were viewed as perennial contenders heading into the 2019 season after the very impressive 2018 season that the team had. The 12-4 Chargers had the joint-best record in the AFC, delivering some of the best wins of the entire year for any team.
Most of the core was turning over to 2019 and while it would have been hard to repeat a 12-4 season, the Chargers absolutely were talented enough to win 10 games.
What resulted was a slew of injuries, an accelerated decline for Philip Rivers and a knack to lose several games by heartbreak that led to the Chargers only having five wins heading into Week 17. It really is sad, because even with all of the injuries and Rivers’ sharp decline, the Chargers could be a nine-win team heading into this week.
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Melvin Gordon‘s goalline fumble against the Tennessee Titans would be win number six. Casey Hayward not committing an egregious pass interference, and assuming the Chargers won in overtime, would be win number seven.
The team outplayed the Pittsburgh Steelers for most of that matchup but could not overcome a terribly slow start because of the offensive line, win number eight. Finally, if Rivers does not throw an end zone interception against the Lions the team would have, at worst, tied the game and sent it to overtime on a field goal.
That was after a touchdown earlier in the game was called back twice and then Austin Ekeler fumbled. That is win number nine, and we are not even counting some of the other terrible losses.
Now, after all of these terrible losses that have the fans pulling their hair out, the Los Angeles Chargers would actually be better off losing Week 17 to the Kanas City Chiefs. They cannot simply lose on purpose, as tanking is frowned about in football, but I would not be so hard-pressed to beat the Chiefs in this game.
Realistically, the Chargers already have a small chance as if but there is the possibility that they rest players in the second half after seeing the Patriots’ score, which opens the door for Los Angeles.
It all has to do with draft position and there are a lot of teams that clustered around 5-10. Right now, the Los Angeles Chargers would have the seventh overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. The highest they can go with a loss, even if the teams ahead of them win, is the sixth overall selection.
However, winning could send the team pretty far back. There are six teams behind the Chargers that are only one game worse than the team and none of them play each other. The Panthers and Cardinals will likely lose against the Saints and Rams respectively, so winning in Week 17 would almost guarantee that the Chargers fall to at least the ninth overall selection.
The Chargers cannot slip that much farther, though, because of the strength of schedule. Even if the Chargers win and all 6-9 teams lose then the Chargers would end up with the 10th overall pick, as the New York Jets. would be the only 6-10 team with an easier strength of schedule.
So really, all it takes is a win and the Cardinals, Panthers and Jets to lose and the Chargers would lose three draft spots when they could gain a stop by losing and hoping that the Jaguars defeat the Indianapolis Colts.
A difference of four spots is massive, especially for the Los Angeles Chargers, who need to figure out the future at the quarterback position.