After one of the best wins any team has had all season, the Chargers are officially locked to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The Chiefs are the only other team to clinch leaving a lot still in question for a lot of the AFC.
The Texans and Patriots can lock up playoff spots today (Sunday) with help. The Texans need the Colts and Titans to lose or tie to win the AFC South and can clinch a playoff spot with help from multiple teams. The Patriots win the AFC East with a win and a loss or tie by the Dolphins.
The AFC North and AFC West are still wide open. The Steelers have a half game lead on the Baltimore Ravens with 3 games left, and as unbelievable as it is, the Cleveland Browns are still in the running for a playoff spot and the AFC North title. The Chargers and Chiefs are tied at 11-3, but Kansas City has the tiebreaker due to a Chargers loss against Denver lowering their division record.
There are two spots where the Chargers will most likely land. The most likely seed for them is the fifth seed. With a win over KC, the Chargers have a minimum of a three game lead on the rest of the wild card race. That means they can not possibly finish in the sixth seed.
As for the AFC West race, Kansas City plays in Seattle next week, and finishes with the Raiders in week 17. The Chargers play at home against the Ravens next Saturday, December 22 in another primetime game for LA. To finish the season, they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos.
The most likely way for the Chargers to win the division is for Kansas City to lose in Seattle next week and the Chargers win out. Either way the Chargers have to have KC lose at least one of their final two games. The Chargers can still lose against Baltimore next week and with the division. If the Chiefs have a 1 game lead going into week 17, but the Chargers beat the Broncos and the Chiefs lose to the Raiders, the Chargers would gain tiebreaker on the Chiefs.
The Chargers winning the division gives them the number 1 seed in most situations. Houston winning out could push the Texans to the number 1 seed if the Chargers win the division at a 12-4 record. The simplest way for the Chargers to get the no. 1 seed is to win out and have KC lose a game.
The Chargers want to fight for the top seed in the AFC but one team they might want to avoid is New England. The Patriots have found a way to stop Philip Rivers and company every time they square off in the playoffs. If the Chargers win the west and the top seed the most likely two seed is the Patriots, which favors the Chargers not having to play them until the AFC Championship.
The Chargers need a healthy Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler to help the offense out. Mike Williams showed the country what LAC fans have known all year, he is a matchup nightmare for opponents. Defensively, the Chargers might be still climbing towards their peak. They are the first team this season to hold the Chiefs under 300 total yards. One glaring issue from Thursday was their struggles to stop Mahomes on third downs. Look for the Chargers to work on making third down stops the next couple of weeks.
Where do you see the Chargers finishing up the season at?
Featured Image: Getty Images