The playoff fortunes of the San Diego Chargers are about as consistent as the team itself. It’s hard to gauge just how optimistic fans should be from week to week concerning the Bolts’ chances of playing football in January for the first time since 2008, but the picture might be getting a bit more optimistic for the team after this past weekend.
Not only did the Chargers look dominant in 37-14 victory over the perpetually whiny Eli Manning and the New York Giants, but they also asserted themselves as a true contender for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Although the other two teams in the best shape to earn the bid did get wins, those victories came in very lackluster fashion as both the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins need late scores to pull of the improbable in their comebacks.
That isn’t the only reason for fans of the Chargers to have an upbeat attitude concerning a potential playoff berth. The Bolts may be 6-7 and still a game behind the 7-6 Ravens and Dolphins, but both Miami and Baltimore have tough tests upcoming. For the Ravens, a trip to face the Detroit Lions next week will be followed by a home game against the New England Patriots before the season concludes on the road at the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s a pretty daunting slate.
As for Miami, their path isn’t quite as treacherous but there are still some potential landmines. Next week they are at home to face the Patriots while they then travel into the cold to take on the Buffalo Bills before ending the year at home against the New York Jets. A cold weather game in Buffalo won’t be easy, and the Jets do have a solid defense even though they were easily defeated by the Fins just a week ago.
There’s no doubt San Diego will need to reel off a few wins in a row to make their playoff push – which could be rough for such an inconsistent team – but they’ve still got a playoff pulse. A road game at the Denver Broncos in Week 15 will undoubtedly be their toughest task, but a win there could catapult them into the closing stretch for two home games with the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.
Certainty isn’t a term that can be associated with the Chargers anytime in the near future, but at least that means they haven’t been certainly eliminated from contention just yet. After the fight Philip Rivers and company showed this past week, expect a similar amount of grit and battle from this squad in the season’s closing games.