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AFC Playoff Picture Week 12: Looking for Help from AFC West

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Who do Chargers fans need to root for in week 12 to help get the Bolts back in the playoffs?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Who do Chargers fans need to root for in week 12 to help get the Bolts back in the playoffs?

Current Playoff Picture:

Division Leaders:

(1) Patriots (8-2)

(2) Broncos (7-3)

(3) Bengals (6-3-1)

(4) Colts (6-4)

Wild Card Leaders:

(5) Chiefs (7-3)

(6) Steelers (7-4)

Contenders

(7) Dolphins (6-4)

(8) Chargers (6-4)

(9) Ravens (6-4)

(10) Browns (6-4)

(11) Texans (5-5)

Dropping out:

Bills (5-5)

The Bills are 5-5 with all of their losses coming within the conference.

Chargers Week 12 Opponent: St. Louis Rams

The Chargers square off against an NFC opponent in week 12, but they cannot afford any losses to inferior teams at this point. The Chargers' defensive improvements in the week 11 win against the Raiders was impressive, but the offensive line remains a problem. I expect another low-scoring game a Rams' team with a strong defensive front. Despite all of the Chargers' issues, a 7-4 record isn't too shabby.

Other Important Match-ups:

Dolphins at the Broncos

As difficult as it may be for Chargers fans to root for, they could really use a win from the Broncos. The division is likely out of reach as the Bolts currently look up at 2 teams they have already lost to. Miami has a strong conference record (5-2) as well as the head-to-head victory tiebreaker over San Diego. A loss in Denver would greatly help the Chargers playoff chances.

Chiefs at the Raiders

In what might be the biggest upset of the year, the Raiders getting their first victory of the season on Thursday Night Football would help the Chargers by knocking the Chiefs down to 7-4.

Bengals at the Texans

A Bengals' loss would push the current number 5 seed Steelers into the lead for the AFC North. A loss paired with a Bolts victory would also drop Cincinnati below the Chargers in the standings, so hope for a Texans victory on Sunday.

Inter-Conference Games:

Losses by the Ravens at the Saints on Monday night and the Browns in Atlanta would give a slight boost to the Chargers' chances.