The Chargers did exactly what they needed to do against the Patriots in Week 14: Win.
It wasn't pretty. It wasn't anywhere close to being a fun game to watch, but the result is all that mattered in this one. Now, we move forward to the first of four divisional matchups in the final five weeks of the regular season.
The Chargers welcome the 6-6 Broncos to SoFi Stadium this weekend with the chance to leapfrog them into second place in the AFC West if they win. As things stand, the Chargers essentially need to win four of the next five to likely even stand a chance at making the postseason with a 9-8 record. Problem is, that wasn't enough in Brandon Staley's first season as head coach and it could very well be the same this year with his crowded teams are around the wild card spots.
For now, the Chargers can only do one thing and that's take care of business with each new week that comes. In the end, hopefully it stacks up to be enough.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at where the Bolts landed this week's power rankings.
Sports Illustrated - #19
"I can’t quit this team. I know. But … am I the only person who sees L.A.’s 7% chance of reaching the postseason as a little low? This Broncos game upcoming is going to be a battle for the fringes of the AFC playoff picture, featuring two coaches who desperately need a trip to the postseason, either to satisfy some loud preseason chirping, or to save a job." - Conor Orr
NFL.com - #21
“In the most Chargerian development imaginable, just as the defense has made admirable strides in recent games, the once-prolific offense has hit the skids. The formula worked, producing a surprising road shutout (the franchise’s first since 2017), but the team’s identity shift is pretty on brand. In Week 10, the Chargers and Lions combined for 954 yards in L.A.’s 41-38 loss. Since then, the Chargers have scored 20, 10 and six points ... while allowing 23, 20 and zero. The Patriots are a bad offensive team, but let’s not forget the Chargers held down the Ravens and Packers pretty well prior to that. What this means for the Bolts long-term is hard to say, but it’s pretty fitting that even in victories, this team has a hard time playing complete games where all three units acquit themselves well.” - Eric Edholm
Sporting News - #21
“The Chargers have saved Brandon Staley’s standing for now by playing much improved defense even with no Joey Bosa. If they can keep winning like that knowing Justin Herbert will get it going soon with healthier weapons, they can make a strong late run toward the playoffs.” - Vinnie Iyer
ESPN - #22
"Derius Davis, the Chargers’ fourth-round pick, has been their spark all season. That was evident in the second quarter of the Chargers’ 6-0 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. Davis slipped a few tackles on a 34-yard punt return, setting up the game’s final points, which came four plays later with a Cameron Dicker field goal. Davis has the most punt return yards in the NFL this season (316) and scored on a punt return against the New York Jets in Week 9." - Kris Rhim
CBS Sports - #22
"They won at New England, but it wasn't pretty. They are still alive, but barely." - Pete Prisco
Yahoo Sports - #22
"It's hard to get too excited about a 6-0 win over a horrible Patriots team, but a loss would have been much worse. While injuries haven't helped and drops were plentiful on Sunday, you'd still like to see more than zero touchdowns for a Justin Herbert-led offense against a 2-10 team." - Frank Schwab
The Athletic - #22
"There are a lot of people who aren’t Herbert believers because he’s .500 in his career, 31-31 after Sunday. That’s not on Herbert, though. He’s as physically talented as any quarterback in the league, and he already has 11 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, which is only two fewer than Patrick Mahomes and more than Lamar Jackson, Geno Smith, Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow among others. He starts getting really expensive in 2025, though, and it’s going to be even harder for the team to win then." - Josh Kendall
Pro Football Network - #24
"The Chargers beat the Patriots to get to 5-7, but it certainly wasn’t pretty. Justin Herbert and the passing attack could not get things going in inclement weather, and their rushing attack has disappeared since their Week 1 performance against the Miami Dolphins."
"Few NFL teams are more frustrating than the Chargers have been this season." - Dalton Miller
Pro Football Talk - #24
“Given all the AFC quarterback injuries, how are the Chargers and Justin Herbert not in better position?” - Mike Florio