The NFL season is officially halfway over and while there is still plenty of football left to play, the playoff pictures for both the AFC and NFC are starting to take some shape. Thankfully, after back-to-back primetime wins, the LA Chargers are at least in the hunt in the AFC.
The AFC is crowded with teams at and above .500 and the Chargers are going to have to go on a run if the team is going to make the playoffs for a second year in a row. That may seem like a daunting task, especially with how the Chargers played early on in the season.
While some fans may not be optimistic, the numbers behind the Chargers' record support the notion that the team may go on a run. One of the most telling statistics about a team is point differential and it can help predict how the second half of the season is going to go.
Which teams are pretenders, and which teams are sleeping giants waiting to be awakened? Let's dive into the numbers, shall we?
NFL standings based on point differential:
- Baltimore Ravens: +115 (7-2 record)
- Buffalo Bills: +80 (5-4 record)
- Kansas City Chiefs: +65 (7-2 record)
- Miami Dolphins: +60 (6-3 record)
- Cleveland Browns: +42 (5-3 record)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: +37 (6-2 record)
- LA Chargers: +27 (4-4 record)
- Houston Texans: +22 (4-4 record)
- Cincinnati Bengals: -7 (5-3 record)
- Indianapolis Colts: -10 (4-5 record)
- Tennessee Titans: -12 (3-5 record)
- New York Jets: -24 (4-4 record)
- Pittsburgh Steelers: -30 (5-3 record)
- Las Vegas Raiders: -37 (4-5 record)
- Denver Broncos: -54 (3-5 record)
- New England Patriots: -93 (2-7 record)
Point differential doesn't get a team in the playoffs but it is a promising sign to see the Chargers at No. 7. There are seven teams in each conference that make the playoffs and this seemingly indicates that the Bolts are one of the seven best teams in the conference.
The biggest faller in terms of point differential is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who firmly sit in playoff position right now despite being toward the bottom of the heap. Pittsburgh has a few tough games remaining but the team still might be able to scrap to nine wins to make the playoffs.
- San Francisco 49ers: +78 (5-3 record)
- Dallas Cowboys: +72 (5-3 record)
- Philadelphia Eagles: +57 (8-1 record)
- Detroit Lions: +35 (6-2 record)
- New Orleans Saints: +24 (4-4 record)
- Minnesota Vikings: +16 (5-4 record)
- Green Bay Packers: +1 (3-5 record)
- Seattle Seahawks: -4 (5-3 record)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -9 (3-5 record)
- LA Rams: -26 (3-6 record)
- Atlanta Falcons: -26 (4-5 record)
- Chicago Bears: -54 (2-7 record)
- Washington Commanders: -54 (4-5 record)
- Carolina Panthers: -86 (1-7 record)
- Arizona Cardinals: -89 (1-8 record)
- New York Giants: -116 (2-7 record)
The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFC but have only the third-best point differential. Philadelphia is yet to have the big blowout win that both the 49ers and Cowboys have had against bad teams.
If the Chargers were in the NFC then they would have the fifth-best point differential in the conference. That is assuming the outcomes would be the same, though, as the Chargers would have a presumably easier schedule.