The San Diego Chargers entered this season with a renewed energy behind new head coach Mike McCoy, but his leadership won’t be enough to overcome the monster schedule ahead of them, including three games against AFC West opponents.
If the Chargers were to win out, it would result in a 9-7 record and likely put them behind the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. To even reach the playoffs, a lot of outside help is needed and head-to-head losses against the Titans and Dolphins don’t help the Chargers.
Glimpses of a playoff-caliber team occurred only against the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts and against current fifth seed Kansas City Chiefs. These games were statement games that rallied the Chargers and their fan base. Now those signature victories have become statistical anomalies.
Phillip Rivers’ career under Ken Whisenhunt and McCoy resurged with their help, but not enough to overcome their red-zone deficiencies. The prime example of their red-zone troubles was the goal line attempt at the Washington Redskins during Week 9. Not scoring touchdowns at that end of the field magnifies all their losses in 2013. This team’s 6 of-7 losses have been within a touchdown score.
Oddly, as of today, the Chargers have converted red-zone opportunities into touchdowns at 51 percent compared to the 2012 campaign where red-zone touchdowns were at 48 percent. Norv Turner and A.J. Smith left town with a quarterback with a few good years left, a patchwork offensive line and a Swiss cheese defense. So, this Chargers team was never supposed to be a playoff team. They were supposed to be McCoy’s first fixer-upper.