Last Monday night, the San Diego Chargers ended a six-game losing streak with a resounding 38-14 defeat of the Jacksonville Jaguars. As soon as the clock expired, their feint playoff hopes suddenly regained some life.
Can the Chargers gain a playoff berth?
Why not, a 9-7 record might be good enough to capture the AFC West title, but they will need some help to achieve their goal. This weekend, the Chargers must have two things to occur if they're remaining in the playoff hunt.
They must hope the Oakland Raiders will become the next victim of the Green Bay Packers and also have the Chicago Bears defeat the Denver Broncos, as this will put them back into the chase. But first, the Chargers will have to take care of business on the field.
The Buffalo Bills are on a downward spiral and San Diego has more than enough offensive power to defeat them. Their vertical passing game has been nonexistent all season and for the Chargers to be successful, the offense must stretch the field.
QB Philip Rivers should have another big passing afternoon against the struggling Bills secondary, as CB Drayton Florence has continually shown that he is better suited to be a nickelback rather than a starting corner. He will have a long day covering WR Vincent Jackson or WR Malcom Floyd deep down field, as Rivers will test him early and often on Sunday.
You saw good signs from the defense on Monday night. They didn’t allow the Jaguars to get back into the game once the offense regained the lead. In fact, they didn’t even score another point in the game.
The linebackers and the secondary must be prepared to cover the entire field this week, as Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can distribute the football to all of his receivers downfield. The pass rush must create havoc in the pocket and force him out of a good passing rhythm or even cause Fitzpatrick to turn the ball over.
The elephant in the Chargers locker room all season has been turnovers, especially the ones committed in the opposing team’s red zone. Good football teams can overcome one turnover, but overcoming multiple mistakes is too much for even a high-powered offense like the Chargers.
You will not win games when you’re turning the ball over as much as they have this season. Protecting the football must be their first priority against the Bills this Sunday.