Biggest Franchise Winner: Playoffs?!
The Chargers are 4-6. Win out and you are 10-6, which is definitely good enough for the playoffs. Drop just one game and you are 9-7 and it gets closer. The Chargers sit as the No. 12 seed in the AFC right now, behind the 6-4 Tennessee Titans, 5-5 Baltimore Ravens and Bills and the 4-6 Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans. All these teams have one thing in common, inconsistency. I expect the Chargers to win five of their next six games, giving them a finish of 9-7.
The Titans will likely get the first Wild Card spot. The Ravens play the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the Texans, Bengals and try-hard Indianapolis Colts, so dropping three games there wouldn’t be surprising. The Bills play the New England Patriots twice and the Kansas City Chiefs, plus if they stick with Nathan Peterman, they just may lose out. The Dolphins also play the Pats twice and the Chiefs, so most likely at least two losses there puts them at 8-8. The Bengals play the Steelers, Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Ravens, so again, at least two losses there. The Jets and Texans don’t have quarterbacks or enough talent to hit 9-7. This leaves Los Angeles’ newest tenant at 9-7 and the second Wild Card spot.
Biggest Franchise Loser: Next QB Up
Looking at the entire Chargers roster, every spot has a lot of talented youth and fans should be excited for the future of this franchise. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are very talented running backs. Allen, both Mike and Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry are good pass-catching options. The line has a couple young talented interior players. On the other side, of course Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are on the line. Korey Toomer, Hayes Pullard III and Jatavis Brown are solid linebackers. Aside from Hayward, Williams, Jahleel Addae and Desmond King are going to be strong players. This leaves only quarterback.
Rivers should still have a couple seasons left, but you never know when father time will claim his next victim, so it would be a good idea to start looking for a replacement. In games like this past Sunday, a young quarterback could come in for valuable game time, instead of turning to journeyman Kellen Clemens. With a win and potentially more on the way, a draft pick that is not only high, but also ahead of other teams looking for a QB (Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals) along with the ones already down there (49ers, Browns, Broncos, Giants) will limit the kind of QB prospect the Bolts could land in the first round or two.