The LA Chargers are coming off huge back-to-back wins against the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans and are currently the sixth seed in the AFC heading into Week 16. Not only are the Chargers in playoff position right now, but they have the easiest remaining schedule in the league.
That remaining schedule has only gotten easier as well. The LA Rams are dealing with injuries that will make them an easier matchup in Week 17 while the Indianapolis Colts will be without Jonathan Taylor and named Nick Foles the starter in Week 16 (which significantly favors the Bolts). LA still needs to take care of its business but it is easy to be confident in this team.
It is also the time of year when fans will be scoreboard-watching. Not only are there outcomes that could clinch a playoff spot for the Chargers in Week 16, but there are other outcomes that could help the team move up in the standings to have a better seed. A lot is going to change week-to-week but right now, there are very specific teams that Chargers fans should be rooting for.
Chargers fans rooting guide for Week 16:
There are several games in the AFC playoff picture to keep an eye on. Let's rank them in order of prominence so you know which teams to root the hardest for.
1. The Atlanta Falcons over the Baltimore Ravens
This is the only matchup on this list that does not impact the Chargers' clinching scenario this week. So why does it rank first? The simple answer is that the Bolts would have a huge advantage if they could get to the fifth seed in the AFC and the Ravens are standing in their way.
Making it to the fifth seed would mean playing the winner of the AFC South instead of playing either the Cincinnati Bengals or Kansas City Chiefs in Wild Card Weekend. The Chargers have to get their first, I get that, but the Ravens losing just makes everything easier for the Bolts.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars over New York Jets
The Chargers need the Jets to lose or tie in each one of the team's clinching scenarios. This actually gives fans some sort of early answers for the playoff situation as well as the Jets host the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football.
If the Jets beat the Jaguars on Thursday night then there will be no way for the Bolts to actually clinch in Week 16. While that is a bummer, a win would still put them in a fantastic position and would give them a chance to clinch at home in front of Chargers fans in Week 17.
3. Green Bay Packers over Miami Dolphins
It is more important for the Dolphins to lose than for some of the teams on the outside looking in to lose. Miami is currently the seventh seed in the AFC as they have the same record as the Chargers but do not have the head-to-head tiebreaker. That is a huge advantage for the Bolts to have in the AFC playoff picture.
Miami losing just gives the Chargers even more cushion. While the main goal is to move up to become the fifth seed, Miami racking up as many losses as possible gives the Chargers more room for error to make the playoffs if they are unable to completely take care of business down the stretch.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers over Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have a minuscule chance of making the playoffs and this does not really impact the Chargers much. Vegas would have to win out to even have a chance and their upcoming schedule is extremely difficult. They finish the season against the 49ers and Chiefs.
While it is less impactful than no. 5 in this rooting guide, it is also the Raiders and Chargers fans love to see the Raiders lose. Chargers fans painfully had to root for the Raiders last week and now it would be nice to see their playoff hopes get completely dashed in Week 16.
5. Cincinnati Bengals over New England Patriots
This is more impactful for the Chargers' playoff chances as the Patriots have a 7-7 record. Them falling to eight losses would give the Bolts cushion to potentially finish with a 9-8 record and make the playoffs. Obviously, the hope is that the Chargers can win at least two of their final three games.
The reason this game is at the bottom of the totem pole is two-fold. First, there is already a really good chance that the Patriots lose this game, whereas the other games in this guide are more up in the air.
Second, the Patriots finish the season against the Dolphins and Bills. That means the team will likely either get to nine losses anyway or will help the Chargers by beating the Dolphins next week.