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Health / Bye Week
I've kind of been waiting for this, but my reasoning might be destroyed.
All season long, Mike McCoy and others within the San Diego Chargers organization have been blaming their poor record on health and injuries. I have even heard some say, earlier in the season, that they wish the bye week had come sooner this year.
Now, the bye week is here. That should make the Chargers healthy, right? This should be the time when we figure out if injuries are the real problem, right?
Well, not really. The Chargers have 11 guys on Injured-Reserve, and you could argue that 4 of them should be starting in this game (Keenan Allen, Johnnie Troutman, Tourek Williams, Darius Philon). That's without mentioning Malcom Floyd, who would probably be on IR too if he wasn't retiring at the end of the season, or Antonio Gates, whose body is falling apart on him this season in a way that we've never seen.
Still, this team is probably about as healthy as they've been since Week 1. D.J. Fluker may not go due to a concussion he got in practice, but the rest of the offensive line seems ready to go. Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers are probably as healthy as they've been all year, they needed that week off more than most, and even Manti Te'o and Corey Liuget have been practicing a little bit.
If injuries have been the problem, we should see a better Chargers team on Sunday to take on the Chiefs.
The bye week is when teams can take a look at what they've been doing wrong and change it.
While the Chargers didn't fire anyone during the bye week, Mike McCoy did say that he made a change to how the team has been practicing. My guess is that isn't the only adjustment that he made, which means there stands a good chance of the Chargers catching the Chiefs off-guard with new wrinkles into their game plan and schemes.
This is the one you just can't get around. Look at every "unexpected result" in the NFL over the last 5-10 years and you'll notice that almost all of them are in games between divisional opponents.
Divisional games are typically closer than expected (even Vegas sports books have picked up on this), and they're the ones that can yield some fun results.
Even if you think the Chargers are terrible, and that the bye week won't help them....and even if you think they couldn't beat any team in the league with the type of performances they have been putting on....you can't deny that, if they were to pull off an upset, it would likely be in a home game against a divisional opponent.
So, throw everything you know and expect out the window, because the Chargers might just surprise you on Sunday.