Currently sitting at 3-5 and third in the AFC West standings, the Los Angeles Chargers are attempting to become the second team in NFL history to start the season 0-4 and still make the playoffs. The first team, the San Diego Chargers in the 1992 season. However, at this point, if Los Angeles wants to have a chance at playing in January, they will not only need exceptional play but the football gods blessing.
So let’s take a look at where the Chargers could end up come this time next week.
Best Case Scenario
Now before we get ahead of ourselves, this is more of a realistic best-case scenario. I am not just going to automatically give the Chargers a 50 point blowout against a team much more talented than them. But with that said, let’s jump into it. The Chargers will face off against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that is sporting a 5-3 record. Heading into this game, Jacksonville is a slight four-point favorite at home which is more than fair for a team which has looked rather solid to this point in the season. Thus, far this season, the Jaguars have been better than L.A. in just about every statistical category but Passing.
But with a Chargers defense that held their own against New England last week and proved that, if challenged, they can contain an elite offense, I’m not so sure how big of an advantage that is for Jacksonville.
As for the rushing game, L.A. has been very hit-and-miss this season as Melvin Gordon has struggled to find a consistent rhythm. But this is the best case scenario, so let’s hope Gordon can follow up last week’s solid performance with a near 100-yard rushing game along with a touchdown or two. As for the passing game, I fully expect the future Hall-Of-Famer in Philip Rivers to take the edge over the young buck in Blake Bortles. And lastly, as long as the Chargers special teams don’t cost them as many points as last week(and all season for that matter), I could easily see the Chargers walking away with a 24-21 victory in Jacksonville.
As for the rest of the AFC West, things won’t change up as much as the Chargers are hoping for. The Denver Broncos are riding a four-game losing streak which will unlikely end this Sunday as they face a streaking Patriots team. This loss would keep them at the bottom of the division, and most likely out of playoff contention. As for the division front-runner in the Kansas City Chiefs, they will be entering their bye week along with the Oakland Raiders as both teams will get a chance at rejuvenating some of their banged up/injured players.
Just to summarize everything I said above, here’s a short recap. If the Chargers’ defense can contain Jacksonville and their powerful running game while also getting a 100+ yard rushing game from Melvin Gordon, and keep the Rivers interceptions below two, they should best the Jaguars in Jacksonville. However, it would help give some padding between L.A. and Denver if the Broncos lose to a Patriots team that has seemed to have hit that mid-season form everybody was waiting for. This loss along with a Chargers win would place L.A. at second in the division with a 4-5 record moving Oakland down to third and keeping Kansas City and Denver in their current positions.
-Travis Baker is a Staff Writer and covers the Los Angeles Chargers for cover32.com/Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0