In order to make the NFL playoffs, a team generally needs at least 9 wins. Sometimes you can make it with less, but it is usually as a wildcard and tough to predict. The San Diego Chargers finished last season with a 7-9 record and did not make the playoffs. This season the Bolts will be looking to improve on last year and make it to the playoffs as they had done in the 2009-2010 season. To see whether the Chargers can make it, we now break down this year’s schedule to see which games they will win and lose.
In September the San Diego Chargers play against the Houston Texans (home), the Philadelphia Eagles (away), the Tennessee Titans (away), and the Dallas Cowboys (home). The Texans were one of the best teams last season, so it is likely they will beat the developing Chargers. The Eagles struggled incredibly last year and don’t have a reliable quarterback situation. The Chargers win this game even though they are in Philadelphia. The Titans are not a strong team either, with major problems on both offense and defense. Chargers win this game in Tennessee without problems. The Dallas Cowboys played solid football last year, but had areas of concern with the rushing game. This game could go either way, but in San Diego, the Chargers should be able to win a close one.
Record so far: 3-1
The teams the Chargers face in October are Oakland (Away), Indianapolis (Home), and Jacksonville (Away, Chargers have a bye week in week 8). Oakland and Jacksonville are two of the weaker teams in the AFC so the Chargers should be able to win both games provided they play good football. Indianapolis on the other hand is a great team led by the rising star of Andrew Luck. Even in San Diego, the Chargers will likely not be able to contain the Colts offense.
Record after October: 5-2
November games include: Washington (Away), Denver (Home), Miami (Away), and Kansas City (Away). The Redskins are also a rapidly improving team like the Colts, led by RGIII, and the game is in Washington. The Chargers come away with a loss here. Denver is now one of the best teams in the NFL. The Chargers will play well, but they won’t beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos defense. Miami is a developing team and has moments of great football from young quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, the Chargers have some veteran defensive players in Eric Weddle and Dwight Freeney that will give them the upper edge in Miami; Chargers win. Finally, playing in Arrowhead Stadium is never easy. To add to this, the Chiefs now have a legitimate quarterback in Alex Smith. San Diego is the better team, but could let this game slip away from them.
Record after November: 6-5
In the final month of the season San Diego plays the Cincinnati Bengals (Home), the New York Giants (Home), the Denver Broncos (Away), the Oakland Raiders (Home), and finally the Chiefs again (Home). The Bengals played better football last year with some great young talent on the roster. They should be a better team this year and should also beat the Chargers in San Diego. The Giants are another good team, but have some problems on defense. Should the Chargers play good football, they will be able to beat the Giants, especially at home. The Broncos were a probable loss for the Chargers earlier, and this game is no exception. The Raiders and Chiefs however, are two likely wins because the games are in San Diego and the Chargers have a stronger team.
Final Record: 9-7
With a 9-7 record the Chargers have a good shot at a wild card position. However, a few misplayed games could have them missing the playoffs altogether. Even if they are in the playoffs, they will likely have to play a team like the Broncos or Patriots, who position by position outmatch the Bolts. But who knows, maybe the Chargers play incredible football this year and surprise everyone. Only time will tell.