Let’s take a look at important matchups in Week 14 of the 2017 season.
Meaningful December football! Haven’t said that in years.
The Chargers are tied for first place atop the AFC West with both the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. All three teams are 6-6, but the Chiefs currently hold the tiebreaker over Los Angeles and Oakland.
What’s crazy is that each team controls its own destiny. They all play each other one more time, so whoever wins out, wins the division. Also, going 3-1 in the final four games likely keeps one of these teams in contention for a wild-card spot.
The Chargers host the Washington Redskins Sunday. Focusing on the Chargers and what they do is the main goal, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at other key matchups in Week 14, especially if the Chargers are the ones fighting for the final wild-card spot in Week 17.
Note: The Dolphins, Bengals and Jets (all 5-7) are not listed.
Raiders (6-6) @ Chiefs (6-6): Wait, so you’re telling me that the Chargers could be in sole possession of first place should the Chiefs, who have lost four in a row, lose to the Raiders?! Yes, that’s right. If the Chargers win and the Raiders beat the Chiefs, the Bolts would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Raiders (beat them in Week 6). If you’re a Chargers fan, a loss for either team bodes well for Los Angeles, but Oakland has a harder schedule than the Chiefs, whose final two games of the season are against the Dolphins and Broncos. The Raiders play the Cowboys and Eagles before hosting the Chargers in the season finale. Not only that, but the Chiefs have the better divisional record (2-1) of the three. Gotta go Raiders in this one.
Ravens (7-5) @ Steelers (10-2): Big game on Sunday Night Football. The Ravens, who, like the Chargers, have won three in a row, are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC behind the 8-4 Jaguars. Baltimore sort of reminds me of the Chargers: A top-notch defense leading the way, with what was an inconsistent offense now starting to heat up. In my opinion, the Chargers’ offense is WAY more talented. And with the Steelers running away with the division, any loss by the Ravens simply benefits the Chargers going forward.
Colts (3-9) @ Bills (6-6): The Bills are currently behind the Chargers as the No. 8 seed in the AFC. Buffalo got smashed by the Chargers a few weeks back. At 6-6, they are still in the hunt, but Tyrod Taylor–you know, the starting QB who didn’t face the Chargers–is banged up. Nathan Peterman–you know, the backup rookie QB who faced the Chargers–will likely lead his team into a potential snow battle. Go Colts.
Titans (8-4) @ Cardinals (5-7): Why the Titans? Well, I’m not a believer in the Titans. However, they are winning games and currently tied for first in the AFC South with the Jaguars; can’t take that away from them. That said, if Tennessee loses out, which could happen (games against Arizona, San Francisco, L.A. Rams and Jacksonville), the Chargers could snag a wild-card spot should they fail to win the division (or even potentially fight for the No. 3 seed, which Tennessee currently owns). Gotta have backup options, right? It starts Sunday against a Blaine Gabbert-led Cardinals team fighting to stay alive in the NFC.