Predicting each remaining game for Chargers' AFC playoff competition

New England Patriots v Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages
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New England Patriots:

Week 13 vs Buffalo Bills: Loss

Once again, the Patriots' defense has done really well against bad quarterbacks this season but when they play a good quarterback with a good coach they have been torn apart. Buffalo has far too much to play for to lay an egg here.

Week 14 at Arizona Cardinals: Win

The Arizona Cardinals are a nightmare. And even though they are coming off a bye week, they probably still won't be as prepared as the Patriots will be for this game. While Arizona has far more weapons, the coaching disparity is too big to ignore. This isn't necessarily a hard defense to pick apart, either.

Week 15 at Las Vegas Raiders: Win

Even if the Raiders are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention at this point they will still have a lot to play for as Josh McDaniels is going to want to stick it to his old team. That won't happen. This is the Raiders we are talking about. Bill Belichick will find a way to slow down Davante Adams and Derek Carr will be lost.

Week 16 vs Cincinnati Bengals: Loss

We already covered this game. Bengals win, and based on how the two schedules are shaking out, this is probably the better outcome for the Chargers.

Week 17 vs Miami Dolphins: Loss

The Dolphins took care of business against the Patriots in Week 1 before they even got their legs under them offensively. With perhaps the best offense in the sport, Tua Tagovailoa should stay undefeated against the Patriots. There is just too much firepower to keep up with Mac Jones.

Week 18 at Buffalo Bills: Loss

The playoffs, AFC East and potentially the first seed in the AFC will be on the line in this game. Once again, there is far too much for Buffalo to play for to drop a home game in January to Mac Jones and the Patriots.

Final record prediction: 8-9 (6-6 in AFC)

Based on these predictions, a 10-7 record would get the Chargers in the playoffs no matter what, meaning they would have to finish 4-2 the rest of the way to get in. If the Chargers finish 9-8 they would have to finish with a better AFC record than the Jets to get into the playoffs.

If Jacksonville beats New York then the Chargers just have to go 2-3 in their final five AFC games.