3. Beat both the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are also going to be in the mix in some capacity and the LA Chargers cannot allow their lives to be easier. These are two big games for the Chargers and securing wins over both teams would shift a lot of the postseason picture.
That would obviously provide both the Patriots and the Dolphins with an extra loss to hurt their record. However, it would also give the Chargers the head-to-head advantage if either team does happen to tie the Chargers for a playoff spot in the AFC.
Certain games truly are must-win for the Chargers as they come against other teams that are going to be contending. The games against Miami, New England and both Las Vegas games are hugely important. If the Chargers go 4-0 in those games then I really like their chances.
Then the Bolts have their “should win” games that they obviously have to win and should win (if they lose these then they are not a playoff-caliber team, anyway). These games are against the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.
That is seven wins right there. Then the Chargers need to come up with two wins against the Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos (twice). I do not think Denver will be in the playoff running, so splitting that series is fine as long as the Chargers win one of the other three games.
The game against the Bills, Falcons or Chiefs is not necessarily “must-win”. It might be when that week rolls around but it will only be if the Chargers are able to beat the Patriots and Dolphins.
Even if they accomplish that, though, the LA Chargers are still going to need some external help.