Entering week 10, the NFL is taking shape, but this year might have less parity than usual. The question now is where do the Chargers belong compared to the rest of the league.
Elliot Harrison have the Chargers fifth in his power rankings, as does ESPN. The NFL has developed a “Top Four” with the Saints, Chiefs, Rams and Patriots and there are clear bottom-dweller teams. Those top four team are the clear Super Bowl favorites and the most likely top seeds in each conference.
The next tier of teams includes the Panthers and Steelers. The third team in that class is the Chargers. At 6-2 and winners of five in a row, the Chargers have earn the respect of the experts while also putting themselves in great position for the fifth seed in the AFC.
The Chargers next three games are against the Raiders, Broncos and Cardinals. There is reason to believe the Chargers will be 9-2 going into December. December will be the toughest month of the season having to play in Kansas City and Pittsburgh while hosting the Ravens and Bengals. They also have a potentially big week 17 matchup in Denver. Even if the Chargers go 2-3 in those games they would finish 11-5, good enough for at worst the five seed.
With all of that being said, the key must be staying healthy. There is no need to rush back Henry or Bosa. Rivers and the offense is continuing to ball out while the defense is recovering to become one of the top in the league.
If the Chargers win their next three games, they will be a lock-in for the playoffs, just a matter of what seed and where they will be playing. Big wins over teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh will benefit their chances of possibly winning the division, and possibly a top AFC seed. The next three weeks are about momentum and getting healthy for the playoff push.
Photo: Genna Martin, Seattlepi.com