When game week 15 rolls around, usually if you have a shot a winning record then you still have a chance at the playoffs. Such is the case with the Chargers. I think most of us are aware that the Chargers still have the potential - with some help from the rest of the AFC West - to win the division by finishing with a better record than their rivals. Maybe you've even heard some stuff about tiebreakers and how, for the most part, the Chargers don't have any advantages there. However, this is only partially true.
There are many levels of tiebreakers, but if teams come out deadlocked after the first few then it will usually come down to Strength of Victory. Strength of victory is the combined winning percentage of all the opponents the team has beaten. There are a couple of scenarios where this tiebreaker could come into play. Specifically, in the wild card race if the Chargers can get into a 3 way tie with the New York Jets and one other team, then they could potentially get that wild card spot with this tiebreaker. However, that tiebreaker is a moving target as teams are still playing games. What we end up with is that as Chargers fans we have a rooting interest in many of the games being played this week.
The rooting interests are simple. Anybody the Chargers have defeated need to win. Anyone the Broncos, Jets and to a lesser extent the Bengals. Titans and Raiders need to lose. I've mainly focused my attention on the Broncos and Jets (who both obviously need to lose games down the stretch as well). The first game that comes up is:
That's right, in tonight's game Chargers fans should be rooting for the Jaguars. There is still some ground to make up if the Jags can't pull the upset, but it would certainly help if they did. The rest of this week's games are after the jump.
- Patriots over Broncos - Need to catch DEN
- Packers over Chiefs - Need to keep KC away in case of an 8-8 finish
- Seahawks over Bears - Strength of victory, DEN beat CHI
- Lions over Raiders - Need to catch OAK, plus DET will count for strength of victory when SD beats them.
- Eagles over Jets - Need to catch NYJ.
- Rams over Bengals - Need to catch CIN, plus DEN beat CIN.
- Buccaneers over Cowboys - Strength of victory, NYJ beat DAL.
- Vikings over Saints - Strength of Victory, SD beat MIN, only helps with NYJ tiebreaker, since DEN beat them too.
- Giants over Redskins - Strength of Victory, NYJ beat WAS and will hopefully lose to NYG next week.
Then there's this game:
The Chargers beat both these teams, so a win by either helps and little and hurts at the same time. The Broncos could lose to the Bills and if that happens a win against the Dolphins would really help the Chargers strength of victory