The Los Angeles Chargers are by no means a dominant team this season, thanks to their many flaws and foibles, but they can take solace in the fact they are two games up on the rival Las Vegas Raiders in the extremely competitive AFC West.
Derek Carr and the Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at arrowhead after Josh McDaniels decided to go for two in an effort to go up by one point rather than settle for a tie. This moved Vegas to 1-4, with their lone win coming against a dysfunctional Broncos team.
The Raiders have a much steeper hill to climb if they want to make it to the postseason. Not only will they have to compete with a Chargers team that is playing better football in the last two weeks, but they have to dig themselves out of a hole that buries 94% of NFL teams in this situation.
Now that the Raiders are 1-4, they might as well get a head start on scouting some of the best defensive players in the NFL Draft. Only 15 teams have made the playoffs post-merger after starting 1-4, and the only team to do it in the current playoff format was a Washington team that won seven games in the NFC East.
The Los Angeles Chargers are much better than the Raiders.
Carr has been a source of debate for most of his career, as those who believe his impressive statistics show his quality will never find common ground with those who point to his poor winning percentage. However, Carr has been their best weapon in McDaniels' quest to dethrone the Chargers, and he's been let down by those around him.
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has that unit playing average football, but nowhere near the level he showed with the Giants. Situationally, this team remains a mess. McDaniels famously won his first six games in Denver, but he has gone 6-21 as a coach since then. The Chargers are not perfect, but they're better than this.
Despite Brandon Staley coming under fire more than ever in the last few games, the lack of explosive plays from the running game before last week, injuries, and some defensive disappointments, Herbert has this team 3-2 and in line for a playoff spot.
The Chargers aren't exactly in a position to go down ti the jewelry store and get ring sizes sorted out, but they are in a much better position for success than their friends in Las Vegas. Maybe the Raiders will be better once they hire their next defensive coordinator. 20th times the charm?