Entering this season’s playoffs, if one had come to the conclusion that the San Diego Chargers were the team to beat to win it all--it was no longer a unique thought.
Eleven straight wins for the 13-3 Bolts put the entire league on notice, including the formerly perfect Colts (now 14-2), who backed into the playoffs while resting most of their starters.
Armed with a potent offense led by QB Philip Rivers, the Chargers are on a mission to reach the Super Bowl for only the second time ever and the first time since the 1994 season.
They will be facing a seemingly unlikely opponent in the New York Jets, who stumbled to a 7-7 record only to receive two well-documented gifts from the football gods. The Colts and Bengals not showing their “A” game led some pundits to think that Gang Green simply skated in by way of some tiebreakers; that they were not a worthy playoff adversary.
The truth is that the Jets are built to win late in the season, a tenacious defense that is stingy on points (14.8 per game) and the top-ranked rushing game in the NFL which keeps opponents’ offenses off the field. Regardless of how they got here, they beat up on the Bengals last week and are prepared to throw their best punch on Sunday--and tell you how hard they’re throwing it, too.
The Chargers have been here before, recently in fact, and watched Super Bowl dreams go up in smoke in upset home losses at the hands of the Patriots in the 2006 season and the Jets in the 2004 season. With a well-earned bye week coming off that 11-game streak, they look to avenge those losses and put themselves back in the AFC Championship game for the first time since the 2007 season.
Here are three reasons why they will advance...