Why remaining schedule favors Chargers for AFC wild-card spot

By consensus projection, the Chargers have a greater than break-even shot to make the postseason.

A survey of varied retailers Wednesday put their probabilities — expressed as a collective share — within the mid-50s.

A victory Sunday over seemingly playoff-bound Tennessee at SoFi Stadium would enhance that quantity, most likely by a big quantity.

As encouraging as this all may sound to the workforce’s followers, it’s essential to recollect what occurred only a 12 months in the past.

Final December, the Chargers went to Cincinnati — the eventual AFC champion — and gained 41-22 earlier than returning house to slug the New York Giants 37-21, placing the sport away within the third quarter.

At that time, they have been 8-5 and held the convention’s No. 1 AFC wild-card spot. The Chargers trailed Kansas Metropolis by one recreation within the AFC West and had the Chiefs coming to go to for a Thursday evening showdown.

ESPN put the Chargers’ possibilities of making the postseason at 84%.

Sadly for the Chargers and their followers, actuality landed in that remaining 16%.

“We didn’t finish our season,” coach Brandon Staley recalled Wednesday. “I thought our guys competed, laid it on the line. But we didn’t get it done.”

The 2021 Chargers didn’t end, in order that they as a substitute have been completed. They misplaced three of their last 4, together with a flustering defeat at lowly Houston on a day when each groups’ rosters have been decimated by COVID-19.

Now, the 2022 model of the Chargers has reached its four-game stretch run with playoff aspirations nonetheless intact.

Sitting at 7-6, the Chargers are eighth within the convention, sharing the identical document because the seventh seed New England Patriots and the ninth seed New York Jets.

It seems these three groups will battle for that seventh and last playoff berth, with the Chargers possessing at the least two causes to be inspired.

First are the schedules. The Chargers’ remaining opponents have a mixed document of 18-33-1. The Titans (7-6) are the final workforce with the successful document they’ll face. And Tennessee has misplaced three in a row.

The Patriots’ remaining opponents are 32-20 and the Jets’ are 26-26. After visiting Las Vegas on Sunday, New England hosts Cincinnati, Miami and performs at Buffalo.

The Chargers’ Donald Parham Jr. runs after a catch. The tight finish needs to be again within the lineup in Week 15.

(Kyusung Gong / Related Press)

The Jets face a sizzling Detroit workforce Sunday, then play Jacksonville earlier than ending with consecutive highway video games in opposition to Seattle and Miami.

Second, the Chargers have well being trending of their favor, one thing that hasn’t been the case all season.

Reserve tight finish Donald Parham Jr. shall be again Sunday, Staley stated. Parham, who has been restricted to 37 offensive snaps this season due to hamstring and concussion points, gives a 6-foot-8 goal for quarterback Justin Herbert.

The Chargers predict to get edge rusher Joey Bosa again earlier than the top of the common season. He has been out since Week 3, when he suffered a core muscle harm that required surgical procedure.

Additionally they may see the return of left sort out Rashawn Slater, who suffered a ruptured biceps the identical day Bosa was damage. Staley stated this week he wouldn’t rule out Slater coming again earlier than the common season concludes.

Although the workforce didn’t apply Wednesday, the Chargers estimated that proper sort out Trey Pipkins III (knee), defensive sort out Sebastian Joseph-Day (knee) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (core muscle) would have been restricted individuals.

These designations are notable since all three gamers sat out the Chargers’ victory Sunday over Miami.

Additionally notable, security Derwin James Jr. stays out due to a quadriceps harm. Staley has supplied nothing sure by way of a timeline for James’ return.

In any other case, the arrows appear to be pointing upward for the Chargers, precisely 12 months after their season spiraled downward.

“You have to be playing your best at the end,” Staley stated. “It’s about how you finish in this league.”