The 3 Chargers who have led the team's defensive renaissance

Jason Reed
Los Angeles Chargers v Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Chargers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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The LA Chargers have clinched a playoff spot much earlier than anyone would have expected a month ago as the team locked in its place in Week 16 with a win over the Indianapolis Colts. While the playoffs are a for-sure thing, the team is still playing for a better draw in Wild Card Weekend with the fifth seed.

One of the big reasons for the team's quick turnaround and three-game winning streak has been the defensive side of the ball. Brandon Staley's unit has really rounded into shape, allowing just over 18 points per game since the bye week. The last three weeks have been even more impressive with the team leading in third-down rate (18.75%) while allowing 11.3 points per game.

Joey Bosa returning to the fold makes the defense even better, which is an extremely exciting thing for Chargers fans. Now the team will have another All-Pro in Bosa as well as the key players who have stepped up to aid this defensive turnaround.

The 3 Chargers who have led the team's defensive renaissance:

1. Kyle Van Noy

Kyle Van Noy did not start the season off well and it looked like the veteran linebacker was on his last legs in the league and would not be re-signing with the team after this season. However, Van Noy has really come alive in recent weeks, adding a pass-rushing presence that this team so desperately needed.

After not recording a sack all season long Van Noy has recorded a sack in three consecutive games for the Bolts. In those three games, according to Pro Football Focus, Van Noy has registered 10 pressures. In the 12 weeks prior he registered 16 total pressures.

It will be interesting to see how the team utilizes Van Noy with Bosa back in the fold. Bosa is definitely going to be eased into things so Van Noy should still see the field plenty as a rotational rusher. But if he can continue his strong play with Bosa back it can open the door for the team to get creative and even put Bosa or Khalil Mack on the inside (something they have done already) on passing downs.