Everyone cue your Jim Mora impersonation because we are talking about the playoffs for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Is it possible? Is it likely? Heck yeah it is. Somehow after bumbling through the first nine games the Chargers find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt and playing their best football of the year. I don’t know what was said in the locker room after the Jacksonville game but this team turned a corner at that point and I sure hope they don’t look back.
If the Chargers are going to make the playoffs, the real question is how many wins is it going to take to grab that last playoff spot. I think nine wins is going to get it done. Let’s take a look at the teams in the hunt and see how this might play out.
New England Patriots (9-2) and Pittsburgh Steelers (9-2): These two are locks to make it in and both will most likely secure a first-round bye. Look for both to reach 12 or 13 wins. Two playoff spots accounted for.
Tennessee Titans (7-4) and Jacksonville Jaguars (7-4): These two are sitting at 7-4. Both teams are trending upward as they both posted a 4-1 record over their last five games. And both have relatively easy schedules to finish the year. I would expect both of them to reach 10 wins and make the playoffs. One as a division champ and the other as the first Wild Card spot.
That leaves us six teams in the hunt for the final two playoff spots. Lets take a close look at each of them.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-5): Kansas City currently holds the top spot in the AFC West but is a team that is spiraling downward. They have dropped their last three contests. One of those was to the 2-9 New York Giants. It is hard to predict where the Chiefs will end up. They have the easiest remaining schedule and would most likely hold the tiebreaker with the Chargers. So even if they only go 3-2 and lose to the Chargers they would probably still win the division. If they continue to implode they might be out altogether.
Buffalo Bills (6-5): Buffalo currently holds the last Wild Card spot. However they are trending downward going 2-3 over their last five. Also they have to face New England twice in the remaining 5 games. If they make it to nine wins the Chargers hold the tiebreaker, but the Bills hold the tiebreaker over the Chiefs. Bills fans should be rooting for the Chargers to win the division.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-6): While Cincinnati is trending upward they have a tough schedule to finish the season. They need to play Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Odds are slim they will make it to nine wins.
Oakland Raiders (5-6): Oakland also has a rough remaining schedule. They have to face the Philadelphia Eagles, Chiefs and Chargers all on the road and also have a home game against Dallas. Look for the Raiders to finish the season short of nine wins.
Baltimore Ravens (5-5): If Baltimore picks up a win on Monday night, they are right in the thick of it. Tough games remaining are Pittsburgh on the road and Detroit at home. The Ravens currently hold the tiebreaker with the Chargers by means of a better conference record.
Chargers (5-6): The Chargers need to go 4-1 to reach that nine win mark. Their remaining games are against the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, at the Chiefs, at the New York Jets and Raiders. It’s not a cake walk schedule but if you want to make the playoffs you are going to have to win the tough games down the stretch.
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The Chargers have been balling these last two weeks. If they keep the momentum going it is a real possibility that they finish the season 5-0 and get to 10 wins and win the division. If they have one stumble and go 4-1 there are good chances that they would make the playoffs as the final Wild Card spot. The one team that the Chargers should be rooting against the most is the Ravens, since they would most likely hold the tie breaker.
Tighten up your seatbelts everyone it looks like the finish to the NFL season is going to be a wild one.