Philip Rivers Has the San Diego Chargers Looking Like a Legit Playoff Contender

Marcelo Villa@@_marcelovillaCorrespondent IIOctober 20, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 20, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

If the Playoffs started today, the San Diego Chargers would likely fill the last remaining wild card slot in the AFC thanks to a 4-3 record and the remarkable play of quarterback Philip Rivers.

Following Sunday's road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chargers enter their bye week on a two-game win streak that began on Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers, who has been tremendous since the season started, has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns through seven games and is on pace to record numbers similar to his glory years from 2008-10.

Philip Rivers' Passing Stats from 2008-2010

The 10th year quarterback has thrown for over 400 yards three times this season and has completed more than 80 percent of his passes in three games as well. What's more surprising is that Rivers has accomplished these feats with an offensive line and receivers unit that was believed to be two of the worst in the NFL before the season started.

When the Chargers' 2012 campaign concluded, the number one concern for the team in the offseason was helping Rivers get out of a two-year funk that saw him commit 55 turnovers (35 INT, 20 FUM). One of the most tossed around conversations in the media during the offseason was how the Chargers intended on "fixing Philip Rivers," and a plethora of analysts chimed in on the process.

Even with all the chatter surrounding their quarterback and his lingering problem with turnovers, head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt stuck behind Rivers and tailored the offense to his strengths. Not only has Rivers regained elite form as a result of the new coaching staff, but the team as a whole has performed well.

In what was thought to be a rebuilding year for the Chargers, Rivers has his team on track for a possible postseason run, assuming they can continue to string together wins and fend off the rest of the AFC's contenders.

With Denver and Kansas City clearly dominating the AFC Westand the entire league for that matterthe Chargers' hopes of making it to the playoffs will likely rest in the wild card barring a sudden collapse of the Broncos and Chiefs.

As long as Rivers can continue his hot streak, the Chargers have just as good of a chance as any playoff contender in the AFC. Looking at the offensive stats San Diego has put up so far this year, its a valid argument to put the Chargers offense up their with some of the league's best.

Looking at the second half of the schedule for San Diego, Denver and Kansas City remain some of the tougher matchups Rivers and this high-powered offense will face, but they're still games that bode well in the Chargers' favor.

Playoff predictions at this point of the season don't hold much truth, as the regular season continues to throw teams curveballs along the way, but with Rivers under center playing the way he is, the Chargers have at least one very good reason to consider them a contender.