After starting the season 0-4, the Los Angeles Chargers got hot and finished the season 9-3 with the help of the veteran gunslinger and a resurgent defense.
Los Angeles fell just short of the playoffs, losing a Wild Card spot to the Tennessee Titans in the final week of the season. Previously, Los Angeles had a chance to take their division in a Week 15 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs but lost the game 30-13.. Should the Chargers have won the game, they would have taken the AFC West along with the Chiefs’ spot in the first round of the playoffs. This begs the question that if the Chargers had gone to the playoffs, would they have been able to matchup as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars? Would the Chargers be a bigger threat to the New England Patriots? Let’s find out.
Titans lose, Los Angeles goes to the playoffs
In this scenario, the Jaguars help the Bolts out and get a win in Tennessee leading to the Chargers playing in Jacksonville for the second time in the year.
It looks promising for Philip Rivers and Co. as they hold a much more experienced playoff roster and they finished the season with momentum. With Anthony Lynn new to the playoffs, he doesn’t change the game plan much from their last matchup. Instead, the Chargers go into the game hoping Rivers can manage the game and clean up their mistakes from the last game. Rivers controls the game and manages to rely on Keenan Allen who has found success in his two career playoff games (8 receptions, 163 yards and 2 TDS).
The Chargers are much more explosive than the Buffalo Bills and take advantage of a young Jaguars team and subpar play from Blake Bortles. If they manage to prevent turning the ball over and avoiding long field goals, I see Los Angeles taking this game and advancing to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Against Pittsburgh, I firmly believe they can at least put up a big numbers and succeed against the aging Steelers defense who allowed 45 points to a much less talented Bortles. Rivers and Gordon take advantage and the defense prevents big plays as Los Angeles takes the place of Jacksonville in the upcoming game against the Patriots, a game that will be much more exciting than Bortles vs. Brady.
In turn, this game will jump start the conversation on Rivers’ status among the greats and a very possible chance of getting his first Super Bowl ring. This scenario also has a domino effect that might finally push the Jaguars to get rid of Blake and invest in a top free agent or in a new face overall.