The Chargers did not let down last Sunday, showing the Chiefs are who we thought they were. Most concerning were the injuries to Weddle and Merriman. San Diego needs both of those guys healthy to have a shot in the post-season.
Speaking of the playoffs, it's time to start jockying for position. The best way to advance a round is to skip it, which is why the Chargers should keep winning to stay ahead of the Broncos, but also begin to focus on earning a bye.
Assuming the Chargers are not going to catch the undefeated Colts, the end of the season comes down to a contest between San Diego, New England, and Cincinatti. Things can change at the end of the season, but all other teams (excluding Denver) are at least two games back right now. All three teams have easy games next week, but the Patriots are down one game behind the Bengals and the Chargers.
In week 14, two weeks from now, San Diego goes to Dallas, Cincinatti goes to Minnisota, and New England gets Carolina at home. If the Chargers and Bengals lose and the Patriots win, which will be the Vegas prediction for that week, all three teams will be tied again.
In week 15, the Chargers will have their chance at a direct matchup against the Bengals at home-- which of course will be pivotal. The Patriots go to Buffalo. The most likely outcome of this week is a Chargers' win and and Patriots' win, leaving them tied for the wild card going into week 16.
In week 16, the Chargers go to the currently on fire Tenessee Titans. This will be a tough game. New England gets Jacksonville at home, a likely win for the Patriots. Cincinatti gets Kansas City at home. If the Patriots win, Cincinatti wins and the Chargers lose, this puts San Diego and Cincinatti one game behind the Patriots going into the final week of the season.
In week 17, the Chargers play the Redskins at home, not an easy win, but a likely one, as San Diego will have more to play for. New England goes to Houston and Cincinatti goes to New York to play the Jets. If San Diego and Cincinatti win and New England loses there will be a three-way tie in terms of record. San Diego beats out the Bengals if they beat them in head to head competition a few weeks earlier. The decision would then come down to who, between the Patriots and Chargers, has the better AFC record. Right now, it looks like the Chargers may have a slight edge at the end of the season if they can go ahead and beat the Bengals and Titans. If the Chargers lose to either the Bengals or Titans, the Patriots will have the edge.
A bye, a game at home, then an AFC Championship in Indianapolis would actually be a dream trip for the Chargers. It could happen folks.