Chargers: Five reasons they won’t make the playoffs

Alexander Insdorf
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws the ball as nose tackle Javon Hargrave #79 of the Pittsburgh Steelers defends during the second quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws the ball as nose tackle Javon Hargrave #79 of the Pittsburgh Steelers defends during the second quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on October 13, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /
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CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers walks off the field after warm-up before the game against the Denver Broncos at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018, in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 18: Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers walks off the field after warm-up before the game against the Denver Broncos at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018, in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Injuries and tough schedule

Yes, the Chargers do have players like Derwin James and Adrian Phillips potentially coming off of injured reserve later. But the problem is no longer just long term injuries.

There’s a lot of nagging ones that the team can’t seem to escape as well. Just look at this week’s injury report. Brandon Mebane, Justin Jones and Melvin Ingram all are listed out or doubtful this week. That’s over half of the defensive line practically speaking.

It’s almost like you can pencil in the Titans’ Derrick Henry for 150 yards and two touchdowns already this week.

It seems like whenever the Chargers get players back like Hunter Henry, Gordon, or Okung, they have to replace them with other injury losses. Nasir Adderley is a big loss as well to this point with his hamstring injury, as the Chargers can’t even see what they have in their second-round pick who most think had first-round talent.

It goes without saying that NFL teams are never healthy throughout a strenuous 16-game season, but this team is dealing with a lot that most teams don’t deal with. So far in 2019, injuries are a bottomless pit the Chargers can’t dig out of.

Tough Schedule

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Titans are the only sub .500 teams that remain on the Chargers’ schedule. And neither is really even bad. They’re both teams that can be playoff contenders by the end of the year.

With 10 games left, the Chargers can really afford to lose only two or three. And that’s a tough task with five divisional games, three games against the tough NFC North, and two AFC South games on the road.

Discounting the team’s potential to go on a run would be silly. Everyone has seen Anthony Lynn and the squad turn it on late in the year, both of the last two years. A record of 2-4 just feels like too big of a hole to dig out of, as it was in 2017 when the Chargers finished the season 7-3.

Even with seven or eight wins in the last 10 games, it might already be too late.

Next. Grades from Week 6 loss to Steelers

It would be foolish to completely discount the Chargers’ ability to make the playoffs, but as of now, there’s a strong possibility of the team missing the playoffs if the team doesn’t turn things around fast.

The offense as a whole looks weak so far, including the offensive line, Rivers, and the running game. Even if the team starts playing better, injuries and a tough schedule look like they could stomp out a late run.

There may be some reasons for hope, but it feels like there are more reasons for dread right now.

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