AFC playoff picture: Chargers moving up

Getty Images

In early October, only an idiot would have said the Chargers looked like a playoff team. In late November, the idiots are looking pretty smart.

The Chargers’ Thanksgiving win over the Cowboys has them at 5-6, only half a game out in the wild card race and a game and a half out in the AFC West. That’s a shocking turnaround for a team that started the season 0-4.

Here’s how the AFC playoff race looks, through Thanksgiving:

LEADERS
1. Steelers (8-2): Pittsburgh has the tiebreaker over New England based on a better conference record.

2. Patriots (8-2): New England’s December 17 game at Pittsburgh is shaping up to be the game of the year.

3. Jaguars (7-3): Is America ready for the Jaguars in the playoffs? Because they’re a near-lock to make it.

4. Chiefs (6-4): Kansas City has stumbled mightily after a hot start, but the Chiefs are still the overwhelming favorites in the AFC West.

5. Titans (6-4): The Week 17 date with the Jaguars could decide the AFC South. Could a Jaguars-Titans game really get flexed into prime time?

6. Ravens (5-5): Joe Flacco isn’t playing well, but Baltimore’s defense is, and that may be enough.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Bills (5-5): Sean McDermott made a huge mistake by benching Tyrod Taylor but the Bills aren’t out of it just yet.

8. Chargers (5-6): Los Angeles only has one game remaining against a team with a winning record.

9. Dolphins (4-6): It’s hard to believe an offense this bad is only a game out of the wild card, but here we are.

10. Jets (4-6): It’s hard to believe a team everyone accused of tanking is only a game out of the wild card, but here we are.

11. Bengals (4-6): Cincinnati’s offense is starting to pick up.

12. Texans (4-6): The Deshaun Watson injury probably cost the Texans a playoff spot.

13. Raiders (4-6): Oakland is a major disappointment.

14. Colts (3-7): If only Andrew Luck had been healthy.

15. Broncos (3-7): Denver may be the biggest disappointment in the league.

16. Browns (0-10): They actually haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet, but it’s probably safe to say the Browns won’t be in the playoffs this year.

24 responses to “AFC playoff picture: Chargers moving up

  1. Cowboys should be removed from Thanksgiving games. Jerry has a really nice stadium, he just can’t fill it with a watchable team.

  2. I fantasize how good a QB Rivers could be if he was as mobile as someone like Prescott.

    Rivers NFL experience 13+ seasons: 575 rushing yard, 3 TDs
    Prescott NFL experience 1+ seasons: 529 rushing yards, 11 TDs

  3. Hard not to root for Rivers. He was incredible today. It’s a crime that the Chargers have never been able to put a real team around him. But man, that guy can still ball.

  4. Knock on wood, but I could see this Chargers team winning out and winning the AFC West at 10-6. They have the best QB in the division, a wealth of passing game weapons, a borderline-elite defense, and a very manageable schedule. A lot of season left, but the Chargers finally seem to be playing up to their talent level.

  5. If Alex Smith continues to start, the Chargers may very well win the West. We know the donkeys and faiders are done.

  6. bolts2017 says:
    November 23, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I fantasize how good a QB Rivers could be if he was as mobile as someone like Prescott.

    Rivers NFL experience 13+ seasons: 575 rushing yard, 3 TDs
    Prescott NFL experience 1+ seasons: 529 rushing yards, 11 TDs
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    QB mobility is overrated. Most of these guys through the years have taken a pounding, and very few have won big games with their legs on a sustained basis. By far the most important things are to be able to read defenses, change plays at the line based on that, go through progressions, and throw accurately. Avoiding sacks is 5th – but part of that is changing out of bad plays and keeping guys in to block, and part is subtle movements in the pocket like Manning or Brady always did/do.

  7. How many more games would the chargers have won if the could kick field goals?

    I think its 3 or 4 more.

  8. Imagine if Rivers started for a team like the Chiefs? They may score 40 a game and the defense would be better just from the pressure having to score and teams playing from behind. Alex Smith leading the Chiefs scares no one and the defense is always on high alert.

  9. Time for a strong postseason run and push those PSLs. A Rams/Chargers Super Bowl should do it. Raiders will be next to benefit. Falcons, Vikings, 49ers and others have had benefited similarly.

  10. Phillip Rivers took the Dallas D to the woodshed today. I would sure like to see him win a championship before he hangs ’em up. Very impressive performance by the Charger defense also. It would not surprise me one bit if LA makes the playoffs.

  11. all i know is that i am looking forward to a game in Oakland….seems like this is the longest span in 20+ years the raiders have not has a game at home in Oakland during the season….KC game on Thursday night seems like it was months ago.

    3 out of the last 4 seasons playing home games out of this country is a joke. Mark Davis is doing a money grab with these dumb games and its costing his team.

  12. Reggie McKenzie playing dynasty mode as a GM when the raiders had MAJOR HOLES on defense THIS SEASON.Damn shame he wasted a chance for a run this year.

  13. maybe is just as well that Deshaun took an injury this year. This way he’ll have his D-line back next year and there won’t be all that much on tape for other teams to dissect (cough Dak Prescott cough).

  14. bolts2017 says:
    November 23, 2017 at 8:03 pm
    I fantasize how good a QB Rivers could be if he was as mobile as someone like Prescott.
    —————————————-

    Would that be the same Dak Prescott who has thrown five interceptions against zero touchdowns the last two games, both Cowboys losses, when the Cowboys desperately needed Prescott to carry the team?

    QBs with limited mobility have dominated this millennium. You know their names. Rivers is not them, but he has been a damn good QB in the NFL.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!