The San Diego Chargers sit at 5-4 at the bye week. They are on a 3 game losing streak with their worst loss since 1999 on Sunday. Times seem bleak for the Chargers and many fans believe an epic collapse is coming. This bye week comes at a perfect time for the Chargers to renew themselves and make a playoff run.
The Chargers flew into Miami knowing it was a must win game. They had 2 losses to division rivals Chiefs and Broncos in their previous games. It was puzzling to see the Chargers come out flat against the Dolphins. The offense only had 178 yards of offense and the defense had allowed 441 yards of offense. The defense also went their 2nd game in a row without a sack and only got to Ryan Tannehill once. The final score was 37-0 and there was no bright spot to be found.
The only place the Chargers can go is up. The bye week can be used to get healthier and see important players come back. The offensive line looks broken and battered so watch for them to get to 100%. The linebackers are the weak spot on the defense so hopefully Mati Te’o, Jerry Attaochu, and Melvin Ingram can return. Jason Verrett will get closer to returning in the secondary and Ryan Matthews could be at 100%. The first game back for these players is Oakland and it will be exciting for them to get at the rivals.
Despite Phillip Rivers throwing 3 interceptions and fumbling, he still ranks in the top 5 of NFL quarterbacks statistically. It is important for Rivers to get this offense clicking on all cylinders. The 1-2 punch of Matthews and Oliver in the backfield could be exactly the firepower the offense needs. A healthy offensive line that is rested up for a big run is the final cog in the machine. The receivers are all at a high level so it all depends on running and line to get going. A lot of people will underestimate how much better the offensive line can get with this rest.
I expected the Chargers to be 7-2 at this point. My final record prediction was 10-6 to get a wild card and I believe they can still get there. The first game back is against the Raiders which will be the bounce back they need. The St. Louis Rams are hot right now but i expect them to go on a losing skid to Arizona and Denver which will continue in a loss to the Chargers. Baltimore will have a short week to get ready for the Chargers which they can use to their advantage to beat the Ravens. I expect New England to keep rolling AFC opponents and for the Chargers to get a loss. Playing Denver in San Diego can be a true advantage to edge out a win, going to San Francisco to face a broken team can be a great win, and finishing the season at Arrowhead to keep the Chiefs out of the playoffs can be satisfying as any win. If the Chargers follow this template, they can finish at 11-5 with a great winning streak. I do expect them to drop a game somewhere whether it be Baltimore or San Francisco. If they can best their division opponents, they will also have a chance to win the AFC West.
Keep those chins up San Diego and get ready for an important back half of games. This has always been the point in the schedule that worried everyone but this team can come together to shine. Championship teams can be born in an instant and when a coal enters the hottest flame it can come out a diamond. The road to the playoffs is paved with gold but expect a little bit of blue to hit the road all the way to the Super Bowl.