The LA Chargers defeated the Tennessee Titans in Week 15 to climb up the AFC playoff picture and become the sixth seed in the conference. Now, the Chargers control their own destiny with the easiest remaining schedule in the entire league.
The first challenge for the Bolts will come the day after Christmas on Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are coming off of the largest blown lead in NFL history to the Minnesota Vikings.
Indy has been a mess this season with the Jeff Saturday experiment not working well for the team. But still, the Chargers have to take every opponent seriously as an upset loss can happen in the blink of an eye. The ugly loss to the Houston Texans last year that really hurt the team's playoff chances is still fresh in Chargers fans' minds.
That being said, the Bolts could be dodging a massive bullet in this game against the Colts. It appears very unlikely that Jonathan Taylor will play in this game after suffering an ankle injury against the Vikings. Taylor and the run game is the scariest part of this team, especially against a run defense that allows the second-most yards per attempt.
Colts' Jonathan Taylor considered doubtful against the Chargers.
If the Colts were going to shock the world and really hurt the Bolts' playoff chances then it would have been on the back of Taylor. The path to winning this game was to rely on their great running back to power the offense and hope that the Chargers' flawed offensive game plan would have held them back from scoring too many points.
Without Taylor, that game plan is a lot harder to execute. Of course, anything can happen in any NFL game but it does not change the fact that this matchup just became significantly easier for the Chargers. Matt Ryan and the passing offense is nothing to lose sleep over.
The Houston game last season was also an anomaly that had weird circumstances around it. Several key members of the Chargers team did not play in that game as they were out with COVID-19. Granted, the Texans had more injuries they dealt with in that game, but the Chargers were missing several key locker room leaders.
When those locker room leaders cannot even be around the team it is going to have an impact not just on the talent on the field but the way they get up for the game. The hope now is that Brandon Staley and the coaching staff can take that loss to Houston from loss season and use it as a learning moment to keep it from happening in Week 15 this season.