Chargers entire season is on the line in Week 12 vs Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

After back-to-back primetime losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, the LA Chargers will be driving down I-10 to take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12.

Arizona has not had the kind of season that was expected and a loss to the Chargers in Week 12 would essentially strike a dagger in the team's season. The playoffs would be completely out of reach if Arizona were to lose this game.

The same can be said for the Chargers despite having a better record than the Cardinals. A 5-5 record with all of the injuries the team has suffered might seem like a miracle but it doesn't matter much. A loss, and a subsequent 5-6 record, would essentially end the Chargers' season.

Why a Week 12 loss would end the Chargers season:

The Chargers would not be eliminated mathematically from playoff contention with a loss in Week 12. While anything can happen in the NFL, a 5-6 hole would simply be too big to dig out of.

To ensure a playoff berth the Chargers are going to have to finish 5-2 over their last seven games to reach 10 wins. There is an outside chance the team could make the playoffs with nine wins but they should not be banking on the slim chance of that happening. Winning 10 games has to be the goal at this point in time.

If the Chargers lose against the Cardinals then they are not going to get to 10 wins. Plain and simple. Los Angeles would have to finish 5-1 in order to do so. That simply is not happening with the remaining schedule that the team has.

There are some softballs (on paper) for the Chargers at the end of the season. However, they have two very losable games against the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans that are going to prove to be a huge challenge. While the Chargers could shock us, can we really expect them to beat either of those teams if they can't beat the Cardinals?

The Bolts would have to play near perfectly to close the season if they were to lose in Week 12. Nothing this season has shown fans that they would be able to do that, especially if they lose to a dysfunctional team like the Cardinals.

Instead, it is more likely that a loss in Week 12 would send the Chargers in a different direction. A third loss in a row could be the start of an unraveled season that an easy schedule can't even fix. This is a fork-in-the-road game for the Chargers and if they are for real then they have to win this game.

We will have a much better idea of who this team is after Week 12. Win and the playoffs are still in reach. Lose and it would probably be better to play for draft position.