After three disappointing seasons with two different head coaches, the LA Chargers have finally returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Los Angeles clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Colts in Week 16, giving the team two weeks to spare and regroup.
Many fans wrote the Chargers off this season with several ugly games turned in. When the team fell to 6-6 after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders, many assumed the upcoming Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans games would swallow the Chargers, resulting in another season without the playoffs.
Instead, the Chargers rose to the occasion during the most important part of the season and have now won three straight. More importantly, the team is also getting healthier and healthier by the week, with Joey Bosa potentially even returning in Week 17 against the LA Rams.
Despite all of the trials and tribulations, a full-strength Chargers team is one that nobody wants to have to play in the postseason. Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon essentially confirmed this reality in an interview with Robert Gullo of Sportskeeda, where he named the Chargers as the toughest team the Chiefs have played all year.
"But I'm not gonna lie, every time we play the Chargers, that game goes down to the wire. I might have to give it to the Chargers."
The Chiefs haven't even played the full-strength Chargers.
It is true that the Chargers always play the Chiefs close and give them a run for their money and they did so this season without being at full strength. The closest LA was to full strength was in Week 2 but they were still missing an integral piece of the offense in Keenan Allen.
And still, Chiefs fans would be lying to you if they said the Chargers did not look like the better team for 90% of that game. Some unfortunate interception luck on both sides of the ball and a J.C. Jackson blown coverage gave the Chiefs the win. That is not to take away from the win, good teams win football games, but every Chiefs fan knows what they saw that night.
Then the two teams squared off again later in the season and it took a Patrick Mahomes game-winning drive to seal the deal late. That also was far from a full-strength Chargers team, yet they still took the Chiefs to their absolute limit.
It is really hard to beat a team a third time and the Chiefs know that, so they have to be hoping that they end up as far away as possible from the Chargers in the playoffs.
Regardless of who the Bolts face, though, McKinnon's comments prove that the Bolts might be the scariest wild-card team in the entire NFL.