We all know the playoff scenario. On Sunday the Chargers need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose even to have a chance at getting into the playoffs. The Ravens plays at Cincinnati and the Dolphins host the Jets. It’s a possibility the cards can fall into place and both games go the Chargers way. That really isn’t the important thing.
The Chargers must beat Kansas City at home on Sunday.
We all want to see the Chargers in the playoffs but the Chargers don’t need to worry about things that aren’t in their control. Even if one of the above mentioned teams wins, it is no excuse for the Chargers to play with anything less than their absolute best. By the time the Chargers come out of the tunnel at Quaalcomm stadium, they will know if they are playing for a spot in the playoffs or not. If so great. If not, doesn’t matter. The win is what matters.
There are rumors that it is common for Andy Reid to rest starters when he knows his team is set to make the playoffs. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe won’t be playing due to a concussion. Stud pass rusher Tamba Hali will not play due to injuries. Jamaal Charles playing time may be restricted. This game has no bearing on the Chiefs playoff seeding. They are in and they are playing on wild card weekend.
Whether they’re playing the Chiefs reserves or the starters, the Chargers winning will signal a successful beginning of the Telesco/McCoy era. The Chargers are guaranteed at least a .500 record. They were 7-9 last season and they are 8-7 now. A win gives them a winning season and means they closed the season on a 4-game winning streak. The Chargers need that momentum going into the offseason.
We have witnessed a return of Pro Bowl Philip Rivers. Rivers is the fourth highest ranked quarterback in the league and is in the top five in almost every passing category there is. The new offense implemented by McCoy and conducted by OC Ken Whisenhunt has kept Rivers standing upright and completing passes all over the field, putting up sensational numbers.
Ryan Mathews has played in every game this season, a first for him in his career. As a result, he has posted a career high in yards with 1,111 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mathews has played very well the last half of the season. Next season is Mathews’ last season before his rookie contract expires. A repeat of this season’s effort could earn him a veteran contract. The one-two combination of Mathews and Woodhead has been a success and will be lethal if Mathews can show he is durable enough to be counted on week in and week out.
The offensive line has turned into a cohesive unit and with one week left Rivers has been sacked almost 20 fewer times than he was last season. DJ Fluker has been every bit worth his draft position to the point where his exclusion from the Pro Bowl should be considered a snub. King Dunlap has played admirably. Clary at guard has been a great decision. The entire line is playing their best when it counts, at the end of the season. This line will only get better.
All the new names on defense from rookies Mantei Teo, Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams to guys getting starters minutes like Thomas Keiser and Andrew Gachkar have thrived. They will make great second unit once the injured stars like Dwight Freeney, Larry English, Melvin Ingram and rookie draft pick Steve Williams return at full strength next season.
A 9-7 record highlighted by a four game end of season win streak is the objective. That’s a wave of momentum that can sway free agents to San Diego, highlights areas to enhance in the draft and sends the team into the offseason on a high. That momentum then flows into offseason workouts, minicamps, training camp and preseason. Playoffs or not, getting the win is the most important thing the Chargers can do for themselves.
The Greg One