The LA Chargers are coming off of an ugly loss to the Houston Texans that seriously hurt the team's chances to make the playoffs. Prior to the loss, the Chargers controlled their own destiny with the AFC playoffs. Now, the Bolts need some help on top of beating both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders to end the season.
The Chargers were missing a ton of players in the Week 16 loss to the Texans. While the loss is absolutely inexcusable, there is at least promise moving forward that the Chargers can play better in the final two weeks when they get Derwin James, Joey Bosa, Austin Ekeler, Corey Linsley, Mike Williams and Michael Davis back. Should the Chargers have still beaten the Texans? Absolutely. Would they have beaten the Texans if half of those players played in Week 16? Probably.
Seeing how bad it looked in Week 16 makes it worrisome for the rest of the season as the Chargers are dealing with more COVID-19 issues. Mike Williams was originally slated to miss the Week 17 game against Denver because he is unvaccinated. Chris Harris Jr and Nasir Adderley were also ruled out for Week 17 as unvaccinated positive tests.
However, the LA Chargers caught a break with the NFL's new COVID-19 protocols.
In the midst of the CDC changing the quarantine period for asymptomatic cases to five days, the NFL has changed its protocols as well. Prior to the change, unvaccinated players had to spend at least 10 days away from the team no matter what. Now, unvaccinated players can return to their team after five days, as long as they check some boxes.
If the player is still symptomatic then they will have to continue to quarantine. However, if they are asymptomatic then they can return after that five-day window.
This means that the Chargers could see Williams, Harris and Adderley play in Week 17. Williams was placed on the COVID-19 list before the Week 16 game so his chances of clearing protocol before Week 17 is higher. Both Harris and Adderley could return, depending on how their body reacts to the virus with symptoms.
This also applies to vaccinated positive tests as well, albeit those players already had a decent chance of returning from the COVID-19 list. This means that Michael Davis and everyone else who was added to the list has a chance of playing.
Players who were put on the list on Tuesday have a slimmer chance. That list includes Dustin Hopkins, Matt Overton, Trey Pipkins and Devontae Harris.