Fresh off a loss from the Washington Redskins, the San Diego Chargers are now sitting with a .500 win percentage, tied for 7th in the AFC. If the season ended today, the Chargers would not be a playoff team, and the truth is they probably shouldn’t be. Here are three major reasons why the Bolts are still not of playoff caliber.
The Charger secondary again and again fails to provide any sort of solid play for this San Diego defense. Wide receivers roam freely downfield and not only make easy catches, but have room to run after. The group rarely forces a turnover, in fact the defensive line is now tied with the secondary for interceptions on the season. What is most alarming about the Chargers secondary is that in order for the team to make the playoffs they are going to have to win probably 5 more games. The team can’t defend against the pass, so games against the quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Peyton Manning (twice) will be almost impossible. That means every other game the team will have to win, and two of those games are against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
At times, the Bolts look like they can handle any team in football. Only a few weeks ago, they took down the Indianapolis Colts, who derailed the Denver Broncos undefeated season. However, the team has also lost a number of games that they could have easily won. The team completely broke down in week one and gave up a 21-point lead to the Houston Texans. Weeks later, the team gave up a crucial touchdown at the very end of the game against the Tennessee Titans. In week five, they lost to the Oakland Raiders in a game where the team didn’t even seem to show up. Even in Sunday’s game, the Chargers had a first and goal opportunity that would have one the game if they could have scored a touchdown. If the team just could get back 2 of those 4 disappointing losses, they would probably be considered a legitimate playoff team.
Strength of schedule
This factor doesn’t attribute to the caliber of the team, but it is a major reason why the Chargers will have an incredibly difficult time making the playoffs. The Bolts are now fighting for the 6th playoff spot in the AFC with eight games remaining this season. In these eight games, five are against teams with a better record then the Bolts, one is against a team with the same record, and two are against teams with worse records (unless the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles). The odds just aren’t in the Chargers favor for the remainder of the season.
It is difficult to watch the Chargers struggle because they actually are a talented football team. Philip Rivers has been playing exceptionally well this year and new head coach Mike McCoy has settled well into the program. Unfortunately, the team has been backed up against the wall only halfway through the season. The Chargers still have a chance to make it to the postseason, but they really need to push.