The Chargers just wrapped up their bye, and have a 6 game stretch to finish the season. They currently sit at 4-6, and have games at Houston, home against Tampa Bay, away at North Carolina, home against the Raiders, on the road against Cleveland, and finish up at home against the Chiefs.
The Chargers can beat every team on that list, but have a few tough matchups against a very talented Houston defense, and two very talented divisional teams in the Chiefs and Raiders. The Buccaneers are also very good and have strung together 2 consecutive wins, while the Panthers have the reigning MVP, so you can never count them out. If the Chargers act like they have this season, they’ll probably end up splitting the games down the middle in some fashion, and go 7-9, and out of the playoffs. I see the Broncos losing once, or twice at most. The Chiefs will lose most likely 2. The Raiders will only lose one. That leaves the Broncos at 12-4, the Chiefs at 11-5, and the Raiders as the division champ at 13-3 (and the #2 seed). I strongly believe that the Patriots will win out.
Where does that leave the Chargers? Well... if they win out, they finish with 10 wins, 6 losses. Yeah, that’s a good record, and the Seahawks made the playoffs one year at 7-9. But, if you can’t remember, the Arizona Cardinals missed out on the playoffs at 10-6, while the Packers were able to slip in by winning the division at 8-7-1. So obviously, the playoff system is flawed, but it’s what we have.
Anyways, if all three teams currently leading in the AFC west come even close to the numbers I think they will, we’ll see one of them as a 2 seed, and the other two as the wild card teams for the playoffs. The Dolphins are also knocking on the door at 6-4, and the Steelers at 5-5, but if one was to make it, I’d put my money on the Steelers. Either way, even if the Chargers should win out and end the season at 10-6, they’re still behind the Chiefs, Broncos, and probably Steelers. The Chargers have a very low percentage chance of making the playoffs. This leads me to the question of what they should do.
Playing for pride is a whole bunch of bullcrap, and everyone knows it. If Mike McCoy marches into the office of Dean Spanos today and lays out what I have laid out for you, and tells Dean that the best course of action would be to tank to get a better draft pick, Mike would still be the coach for next year. Honestly, there is not one reason to keep winning at this point, especially when they’re currently sitting about pick 8, which would make for a pretty good player.
Considering that the Chargers could theoretically win out and be a top 10 team in the league but still miss the playoffs, they’d be looking at about a 20th overall pick, while also missing the playoffs. That’s pretty crappy if you ask me, and just allows the team to pick mediocre talent to mix with the mediocre talent that is already on the team.
If the Chargers were to tank (which would be hard, because look at the Browns), they’d probably end up anywhere from pick 5-10, which is where some top end talent will be picked. Look at the impact Joey Bosa has made on this team, and tell me that it wouldn’t be nice to have another impact player to make a serious run. This Chargers team has some talent, and if healthy, would really be a team to be afraid of. Add some more (good) pieces in the draft and free agency, and the Chargers will have a Super Bowl caliber team on their hands.