NFL San Diego Chargers

5 Players Who Mean the Most to a San Diego Chargers Playoff Run

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5 Chargers Who Need To Bring Their A-Game

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After missing the playoffs last year, the San Diego Chargers are on a mission to make sure they qualify for the 2014 postseason. With an ever-changing scenario, the Chargers must win out and pray that both the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins lose the remainder of their games.

The Chargers are coming off a weak 2012 performance where they went 7-9. Even with going 4-2 in their division, the Chargers still could not win enough games to make the playoffs. Currently, San Diego is sitting at 7-7 with two games left in the regular season. The Dolphins and Ravens are both 8-6 and look to have the best shot at qualifying for the final wild card position. Because of how incredibly crazy this 2013 season has been, anything can really happen at this point.

San Diego faces the Oakland Raiders this coming Sunday and then finishes off the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Realistically, their chances look very slim, but with how well Ryan Mathews and Philip Rivers have been playing over the past two games anything is possible.

With their playoff hopes looking like they will end in the next week or two, the Chargers must turn to key players to keep their playoff dreams alive. San Diego has the talent to make the run, but do they have the heart and determination?

The defense has been a question all season, especially the play of rookie Manti Te'o. Currently he is third on the team in tackles, but his impact has been nonexistent, kind of like his girlfriend -- too soon?

Here now for you are the five players that are absolutely vital to the Chargers' playoff run.

Baxter Colburn is a NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @Baxstar20, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Antonio Gates

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA TODAY Sports

Although the normal amount of touchdowns have not been there this season for Gates, he still leads the team in receptions with 70. The veteran tight end is making a great statement for those people that questioned if he still could play or not. Gates is second on the team in receiving yards with 799 -- only Keenan Allen has more. With two games left, the Chargers will be looking for his senior leadership to guide them into the playoffs and potentially to the Super Bowl.

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4. Eric Weddle

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A player that has almost 30 more tackles then the next player on the Chargers (97), Weddle has been very busy this season. Due to his high amount of tackles, it is obvious that the defense has not been doing its job very well. When a free safety is the leading tackler on a team the front seven have obviously not been doing their job. Weddle could play a major role is shutting down both the Raiders' and Chiefs' receivers during the coming weeks.

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3. Keenan Allen

Jayne Kamin-Oncea- USA TODAY Sports

Allen has emerged as the go-to receiver in San Diego this season. He leads the team with 931 receiving yards and is tied with Eddie Royal for touchdown catches with seven. Allen needs to remain the main focus of the offense the next two weeks otherwise the Chargers will lose any chance at making the playoffs. Philip Rivers will need to make sure to spread the ball around, but his main focus does need to be Allen -- especially with the game on the line.

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2. Ryan Mathews

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After a slow start to the 2013 season, Mathews has finally found his rhythm the past few games. When hope was almost abandoned, Mathews was able to come back to life and save the Chargers from having another nonexistent run game this season. Danny Woodhead was able to do a decent job of keeping the run game going, but he never truly emerged as the starter as the season moved along. Currently, Mathews is being regarded as the hottest player to start in fantasy leagues this week. Hopefully he will not disappoint not only fantasy owners, but the Chargers' fan base.

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1. Philip Rivers

Christopher Hanewinckel- USA TODAY Sports

The man that is the face on the Chargers organization has had himself one heck of a year. Not only has he beat some of the top teams in the NFL, but his numbers have also been terrific. Rivers has thrown 28 touchdowns and only has nine interceptions. He is currently just 200 yards shy of breaking his single-season record for passing yards. Even though his team is not one of the league elites, an argument could be made for Rivers to be an MVP candidate. It is a long shot, but considering everything he has done for San Diego this season he definitely deserves the recognition.