The LA Chargers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in Week 11, 41-37. It was an ugly win that probably should not have been as close as it was but at the end of the day, a win is still a win in the NFL.
This win has playoff implications as well as both teams were wild card teams heading into the matchup. With the win, the Chargers moved up from the seventh seed to the sixth seed while the Steelers went from the fifth seed to the eighth seed. With Monday Night Football being between two NFC teams, there will be no change until Week 12.
The AFC playoff picture is extremely crowded as well. Not only are the Chargers half a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs for AFC West supremacy (they can tie the Chiefs in Week 12 with a win) but they are at risk of falling out of the playoff picture altogether.
Twelve of the 15 teams in the AFC have at least five wins this season. The difference between the sixth-seeded Chargers and the 12th-seeded Broncos is one game while the difference between the Chargers and the top-seeded Tennessee Titans is only 1.5 games.
It is crowded and the Chargers have to finish strong, particularly against fellow AFC teams. At 6-4, the Chargers are in a great position, though, especially when you consider the historical track record of 6-4 teams.
What a 6-4 record for the LA Chargers means historically for a playoff berth:
Since the NFL-AFL merger (excluding the strike seasons of 1982 and 1987) there have been 233 teams that have started with a 6-4 record. Of those 233, 54.5% have made the playoffs and four of them went on to win the Super Bowl.
The Chargers' history of starting with a 6-4 record is not as good. There have only been five Charger teams before 2021 that have had a 6-4 record through 10 games. Of those five, two made the playoffs (1980, 1981). The 2014 Chargers were the last team to start 6-4, finishing with a 9-7 record.
That might not seem like the best chances for the Bolts but it is much better than the alternative. The playoff chances drop significantly with a 5-5 record. There have been 215 teams to start with a 5-5 record and only 25.6% of those teams made the playoffs and just one won the Super Bowl.
Historically speaking, the LA Chargers playoff chances literally doubled by winning in Week 11 against the Steelers. Granted, every season is different especially with a 17th game and seven playoff teams but it still shows the importance of this win.
There have been eight Charger teams to start with a 5-5 record and only two made the playoffs. The 1992 Chargers did not lose another game, finishing 11-5 and losing in the Divisional Round. The 2007 Chargers also won six in a row, losing in the AFC Championship Game.