Yes Charger fans (and Jim Mora), we’re talking about the playoffs and why not!? The San Diego Chargers are sitting at 4-3 right now in the AFC (good for the last AFC wildcard spot), have won two in a row coming into their bye week and have handled a Colts team at home that just took care of the previously undefeated Denver Broncos.
Their last win came against the dismal Jags on the road 24-6. Obviously, it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars (now 0-7), so you have to take the victory with a grain fine San Diego beach salt but as a fan I have to look at the positives. On the East coast, early start time and with a bye next week, they didn’t look ahead or play down to their opponent. They came in and took care of business and can make some noise for the second half of the season.
Philip Rivers continues to play at a Pro-Bowl level, carving up the Jacksonville defense to the tune of 22 completions on 26 attempts for 285 yards and a touchdown. He also went 14 for 14 to start the game. The offense has been clicking the past two weeks in the slowed down no huddle offense that Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt have installed. They are controlling the clock, sustaining long drives and most importantly keeping opposing offenses off the field.
Ryan Mathews has quietly started picking things up and has amassed back-to-back 100 yard games. This is a huge step going forward for the Chargers; if they can add some balance to their offense with the running game, it will propel the offense and Rivers to a whole new level.
A couple things that worry me about impeding the Chargers run into the playoffs: their remaining strength of schedule and their poor defensive play. It will be no easy task to make the playoffs when you have the two top teams in the AFC in your own division!
The Chiefs have gone from worst to first and are 7-0 while the Broncos have been destroying opposing defenses on their way to a 6-1 record. The Chargers have yet to play either of these teams so that’s 4 games against two top opponents in the NFL. They also have the Washington Redskins on the road who have been gaining momentum the past couple weeks and a tough, physical Bengals squad at home. If they can steal some division games, they have a great shot at the last AFC wildcard spot.
The second thing that worries me is the Chargers’ defense. They are ranked 23rd overall and have struggled against the pass. They only have 3 interceptions (1 by defensive lineman Cam Thomas) and have not been forcing many turnovers. With Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck all being on playoff bound teams, the secondary is going to have to step up if the Chargers want to first compete for a playoff spot and second make some noise once in the playoffs.
With a bye this week the Chargers can rest up, get some players healthy and game plan for RGIII and the Redskins to make it three in a row. With Rivers playing at a Pro Bowl level and the running game coming into its own, it’s up to the defense to make some plays. Look out, because it’s time for the San Diego Super Chargers!!!
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