The LA Chargers finished the regular season with a 10-7 record, giving the Bolts the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. As a result, the Chargers will be on the road to take on the AFC South-winning Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars were not expected to make the playoffs but a perfect mixture of a hot finish and a Tennessee Titans collapse gave the Jags their first AFC South title since 2017. The NFL liked this game between Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence enough to give it the primetime slot on Saturday night.
The Jaguars beat the Chargers in Week 3 this season but things are far different now than they were before. At the risk of looking silly, let's predict not only the Chargers-Jaguars matchup but the rest of the AFC playoff picture.
As the old saying goes, you can't beat a good team twice (or a divisional opponent thrice). The Jaguars may have beaten the Chargers earlier this season but they also got the benefit of catching the Bolts at the best possible time.
Justin Herbert was coming off of a serious rib injury against the Kansas City Chiefs the week prior that very obviously hindered his performance. With no Keenan Allen and injuries to Rashawn Slater and Joey Bosa during the game, it was a nightmare for the Bolts.
That is not the case in this game. Mike Williams' status is still up in the air after the Chargers' mismanagement but for the most part, this is a healthy Bolts team. Better yet, this is a healthy Justin Herbert who is not dealing with insufferable pain to his ribs.
The Jaguars are not a team to take lightly. While he is up and down, Trevor Lawrence is not someone you want to run into when he is hot. The defense is also filled with blue chippers that can get to the quarterback and make plays on the ball.
But with how connected this defense is playing, and with the weapons the Chargers have on offense, it is hard to see the Jaguars outplaying the Chargers in this one. If the Chargers lose this game it will be because they got in their own way. That won't happen.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Jaguars 17