The LA Chargers are the sixth seed in the AFC with an 8-6 record heading into Week 16. If the right chips fall and the Chargers win, the team could clinch a playoff spot in the AFC as early as Week 16. This is a far way to come after losing to the Raiders to fall to 6-6 in Week 13.
With the Chargers right in the thick of the action, there are several AFC teams to keep an eye on as playoff competition. There are teams that the Chargers need to lose in Week 16 to clinch a playoff spot, teams they are trying to tend off from becoming the sixth seed and even teams they are trying to leap-frog to become the fifth seed.
If last week was any indication, Week 16 is set to be a crazy week of football with the weather conditions potentially playing a huge role. Football fans could be blessed with an entertaining weekend of games to go along with Christmas festivities.
We already predicted that the Chargers will get the job done against the Colts. But what about the rest of the AFC playoff picture (as it relates to the Chargers)?
Predicting the Week 16 outcomes for the Chargers' playoff competition:
New York Jets defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
The first game of the week is on Thursday night between the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are playing really well as of late and could even sneak into a playoff spot themselves in the AFC South.
That being said, there is going to be significant rain in this game and that favors the Jets, especially with Trevor Lawrence's noted problems when it is wet. Bad conditions favor a defensive-first team, which the Jets are.
Cincinnati Bengals defeat New England Patriots
I actually think the Patriots are going to keep this game a lot closer than most fans think. It is in Foxborough and the conditions are not going to be great to play in.
That being said, the Bengals are starting to hit their stride and this game will come down to which quarterback can orchestrate a drive late in the game. Everyone would take Joe Burrow over Mac Jones in that situation 100 times out of 100.
Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Las Vegas Raiders
This is a weird game between two 6-8 teams who both can look really good in a particular week and then turn around and look awful the next week. Anything can happen in this game and it has to be the candidate for the wonkiest game of the Week 16 slate.
That being said, the conditions are going to be ugly and the Steelers are at home. I can already see Derek Carr throwing a consequential pick late in the game with T.J. Watt barreling down toward him. Pittsburgh will win a weird, ugly game.
Baltimore Ravens defeat Atlanta Falcons
The Ravens are a team to watch as the Chargers could sneak into the fifth seed depending on what happens down the stretch. While Baltimore has not looked great here recently, they should be able to win a home game against a rookie quarterback with Lamar Jackson back under center. If Lamar doesn't return, this game could get dicey.
Miami Dolphins defeat Green Bay Packers
The book is out on how to slow down Tua Tagovailoa and this Miami offense and it will be interesting to see if the Green Bay Packers can execute that game plan. This is a must-win for both teams and while it would help the Chargers if Miami loses, it would be shocking if Green Bay pulls this off.
Would the Chargers clinch in Week 16 with these results?
The Chargers would not clinch a playoff spot based on these predictions but their chances would still be great. New York would kill the Chargers' chances of clinching instantly by winning on Thursday but if they lose, the other results would pave the way for the Bolts to clinch on Monday night.
Regardless, if all this were to happen the Chargers would still be the sixth seed in the AFC and would have a 97% chance of making the playoffs, per The New York Times.