The Chargers have a bye at one of the latest points in the season. Do they benefit from a Week 12 rest?
One of the toughest challenges for the Chargers at the end of the 2018 season was maintaining playoff-caliber football against playoff-caliber teams before the postseason began. With games against teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Baltimore (all in prime time) to close out the season, the Chargers limped into the playoffs, barely held off the Ravens in the Wild Card Round, and were overrun by the Patriots the following week. Could the team benefit from a late bye week this season?
This year, the bye week falls on Week 12, which would be their latest bye week since 1990 where the team went 6-10. The schedule plays out as:
- Week 12: Bye
- Week 13: Denver Broncos
- Week 14: Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 15: Minnesota Vikings
- Week 16: Oakland Raiders
- Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers will have a chance to be fully rested and prepared against the Broncos and Jaguars, who will be tough outings on defense, before turning their attention to the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. The former two games will be difficult due to familiarity among AFC teams, but a well-rested Chargers team could do well against a Broncos squad traveling back from Buffalo.
Does a later bye week always matter? Since 2013, the Chargers have made the postseason twice. The bye weeks in those years: Both in Week 8, their earliest scheduled bye during that six-year span. Though Week 12 is a full quarter of the season further than that, it may lead to a deeper postseason run. With a week to regroup and prepare, the Chargers may be well-rested and healthy enough to avoid another playoff embarrassment.