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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Bolt finish regular season as a top 10 team

The loss to the Broncos did little to hurt the Bolts this week.

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers toyed with fate against the Broncos in the regular season finale but managed to come away better than it initially looked on Sunday afternoon. Mike Williams, Joey Bosa, and Kenneth Murray all look to be just fine and are expected to be available this Saturday against the Jaguars.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief, but let’s no more scares from here on out, yeah?

Let’s go ahead and take a look at where the Bolts ended up in the final edition of this year’s power rankings roundup.

Sporting News - #6

“The Chargers (+2500) are peaking at the right time offensively and defensively, riding a five-game winning streak into the playoffs. They got ripped by the Jaguars in Week 3 with a banged-up Justin Herbert, but their defense is now capable of playing lights out. Herbert and Austin Ekeler have plenty around them to score the necessary complementary points. Los Angeles can make the top three in the AFC sweat if it can cool off Jacksonville on the road.” - Vinnie Iyer

Sports Illustrated - #7

“The Chargers were about as close as you can get to making the playoffs in 2021 before coming up short in the final game of the season. This year, they broke through for the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2018. Justin Herbert will now join the other elite QBs in a stacked AFC bracket.” - The MMQB Staff - #7

“The Chargers were locked into the fifth seed in the AFC ahead of their regular-season finale, but Brandon Staley opted to roll with his starters anyway. It was a decision ripe for second-guessing, especially after star wide receiver Mike Williams was carted to the locker room with a back injury in the second quarter. “These aren’t easy decisions,” the coach said after the loss to the Broncos. “They’re not easy decisions and hindsight is perfect for everybody on the outside, but these games are not easy to manage. They’re not, because you don’t have that many players and we did it to the best of our ability.” It’s worth noting that Staley appeared to have support from his locker room, and Williams is expected to play against the Jaguars. This should all be forgotten by the weekend.” - Dan Hanzus

Bleacher Report - #8

“The Los Angeles Chargers came into the 2022 season with lofty expectations. With a loaded offense and a defense that added some big-name pieces in the offseason, some saw the Bolts as a legitimate threat to the Chiefs in the AFC West.”

“But L.A’s annually terrible injury luck continued, and the Chargers’ play was inconsistent. Ten games into the season, the Chargers were 5-5 and in danger of missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.”

“However, as Moton pointed out, it has been a different story since then.”

“‘In the middle of the season,’ he said, ‘we had questions about the Los Angeles Chargers. They didn’t beat a team with a winning record until Week 14, but the club has gone on a roll since that victory. Furthermore, Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have recovered from injuries, and the Chargers defense has played exceptionally well after Thanksgiving. Los Angeles has allowed fewer than 27 points in five of the past seven weeks. By the way, four-time Pro Bowl edge-rusher Joey Bosa returned from groin surgery in Week 17.’”

“‘Even though Los Angeles’ postseason journey starts on the road,’ he continued, ‘it’s a wild-card team that can win multiple playoff games with a balanced roster. The Chargers need Herbert to kick into a higher gear in his first taste of playoff action, because they struggle to run the ball (30th in yards).’”

“Among the AFC’s wild-card teams, the Chargers appear to be the best-equipped to make a run in the postseason tournament. And so long as the defense can continue to keep pace with Herbert, Austin Ekeler and Los Angeles’ ninth-ranked offense entering Week 18, the Chargers are going to be the team no one wants to face in a must-win game.” - NFL Staff

CBS Sports - #8

“They played to win at Denver, which was strange since they were locked into the fifth seed. Now they face a long road trip to play the Jaguars, a team that blew them out earlier in the season.” - Pete Prisco

New York Post - #8

“A risky decision to play starters with nothing to gain in playoff seeding might have cost the Chargers, who lost receiver Mike Williams and pass-rusher Joey Bosa to injuries that could jeopardize their playoff availability. All for a 31-28 loss to the Broncos. Justin Herbert’s 27 straight games with at least 20 completions is the third-longest streak since the NFL merger in 1970.” - Ryan Dunleavy

Fansided - #9

“The playoff-bound Bolts took a four-game winning streak into the Mile High City looking to complete a sweep of the disappointing Broncos. Third-year quarterback Justin Herbert connected on 25-of-37 throws for 273 yards and two scores before giving way to backup Chase Daniel, who threw for one score.”

“Veteran wideout Keenan Allen caught a touchdown pass from each signal-caller. The Chargers’ defense gave up a whopping 205 yards rushing.” - Russell S. Baxter

The Athletic - #10

“What exactly was Brandon Staley thinking keeping his best players out on the field in harm’s way with their No. 5 spot locked in during the late-afternoon window Sunday? ‘I believe that Justin (Herbert) played the right amount,’ Staley said, according to The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. ‘I think when you look across the league at the other teams who were playing in the playoffs and what they did this last week, I think you’ll see a lot of high-level players playing in their football games. I think that’s fair to say. I think you’ll see all the big-time quarterbacks, big-time players were out there for their football teams because they have to be.’”

“That’s either myopic or an attempt at bulletin-board material for a Super Bowl matchup with the Giants in calling Daniel Jones not a ‘high-level’ player.” - Bo Wulf

Yahoo Sports - #10

“It made no sense for Brandon Staley to play his starters in Week 18. His explanation was even weirder.”

“Teams figure out how to sit key players all the time, including the Giants in Week 18. Hopefully Mike Williams and Joey Bosa, who suffered injuries when they shouldn’t have been playing, are fine for the playoffs.” - Frank Schwab