San Diego lost to the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, so one more win by Indianapolis and Cincinnati or one more loss by the Lightning Bolts will eliminate them from playoff contention.
San Diego is 0-5 against teams that currently have a winning record. They will play the Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh, so they could fall to 0-6 against these teams this season.
While it is not impossible for the Chargers to capture a wild card spot, it looks improbable. If San Diego is eliminated from playoff contention, they should think about sitting Ryan Mathews and Philip Rivers for the rest of the season.
If San Diego is eliminated from playoff contention, all they will have left to play for is their pride.
San Diego will more than likely be unable to play spoiler for another team’s playoff chances. After Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, San Diego’s three remaining games will be against teams that currently have a losing record.
The front office traded up in the 2010 NFL Draft to select Mathews with the 12th pick in round one. Rivers was a first round pick during the 2004 NFL Draft when San Diego traded for him.
Mathews and Rivers are the two most important players for San Diego’s present and future. Mathews finished 10th in the NFL with 1,091 rushing yards last season and averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt to go along with six touchdowns.
Rivers is one of two quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards from 2008-2011.
Mathews is averaging a career low 4.0 yards per attempt this season to go along with one touchdown. Mathews has a history of injury problems dating back to college when he missed five games in 2008 because of a knee injury. Mathews missed four games as a rookie in 2010, two games last season and missed two games this season.
While Rivers has started every game for San Diego from 2006-present, there is no point in taking such a risk with the franchise QB.
This would not be a popular decision with San Diego’s fans, but if San Diego is eliminated from playoff contention, there is no point in risking injury to two of the team’s most important players.