NFL San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers keep improbable playoff hopes alive

San Diego Chargers

Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers today to pull within two games of them for the final wild card spot.

San Diego’s playoff chances are still improbable because there are five teams ahead of them in the standings including the 7-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

The Lightning Bolts lost to Cincinnati last week, so another loss by San Diego or another win by Cincinnati will eliminate San Diego from playoff contention.

This was an important win for San Diego because it was their first one this season against a team that currently has a winning record.  San Diego is 1-5 against these teams this season.

San Diego has no games left against teams that currently have a winning record, but Pittsburgh would have to finish the season at 8-8, Cincinnati has to finish the season at 7-9 and San Diego has to finish the season at 8-8.

If San Diego wins the rest of their games, they would finish ahead of the New York Jets who have a 6-7 record because they will play each other in two weeks.

San Diego could finish ahead of the Miami Dolphins who have a 5-7 record and the Cleveland Browns who have a 5-8 record, but own the tiebreaker over San Diego.

The Lightning Bolts started this season with a 3-1 record, but went 1-7 over an eight game stretch.

I doubt that Cincinnati will lose to the 4-9 Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.  San Diego would also need Pittsburgh to lose to Cleveland and Pittsburgh is 22-3 in their last 25 games against them.

San Diego has not made the playoffs since the 2009 NFL season.  The Chargers no longer control their own destiny and their 1-7 stretch is to blame for their improbable playoff chances.