The Los Angeles Chargers have gone 11-3 this season, but until they knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs last night, it was largely unnoticed.
On a weekly basis, NFL.com (along with a multitude of other sites) lists their own power rankings. Though they are nowhere near official, it does create a great talking point.
And in Elliott Harrison’s latest power rankings, the Chargers sit toward the top of the perch, sitting at No. 2. They are ahead of every team in the AFC, including the one they are tied with in the AFC West, the Chiefs.
Going on the road to defeat the Seattle Seahawks didn’t get them there, nor did going on the road to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers, but taking out the Chiefs in one of the more difficult places to get a win, ending a long losing streak against that team in the process.
Though the Chargers have yet to win anything, defeating the Chiefs made it impossible to ignore this team.
Key stat: Chargers are 6-1 on the road
This is something that can’t be understated, as the Chargers have become one of the league’s most battle-tested teams. Winning games at CenturyLink Field, Heinz Field, and Arrowhead Stadium will make them a team that no one wants to face.
They’re not bad at home either, posting a 5-2 record at StubHub Center. However, it’s been the road record that has made them one of the top teams in the league.
Key player: Mike Williams
Injuries have hurt the Chargers again this season, and what was perhaps most impressive about their win over the Chiefs was the fact that they did it without Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler or Keenan Allen, who missed most of the game.
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The main reason for that was wide receiver Mike Williams, who had his biggest game in what has been a tremendous bounce-back season. He has 37 receptions for 592 yards on the season, but he’s come up big by catching nine touchdown passes.
He found the end zone three times against the Chiefs and caught the game-winning two-point conversion with just four seconds left on the clock.
One has to wonder….
What if the New Orleans Saints weren’t able to hold on against the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football? Would Harrison have actually put the Chargers in the top spot in his power rankings?
The Saints are the only team listed above the Bolts in the current rankings, but that is a very interesting thought.
Either way, the Chargers are starting to get the respect they have worked so hard for.
The Chargers host the Baltimore Ravens, a team that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. The Ravens lead the all-time series 6-5, but the team have not played in over three seasons.
In that game, the Chargers will face another tremendous rookie quarterback in Lamar Jackson. They found a way to slow down Patrick Mahomes, can they do the same against Jackson?