CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Phillip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers looks away after arguing with Norv Turner during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
The San Diego Chargers are once again trying to make a late charge for the playoffs. Somehow they still have a chance for the AFC West divisional title.
It is hard to believe that a team that lost six consecutive games at one point this season could still have a slim chance to win their division but that is the case with the San Diego Chargers. While the percentages are not in the Chargers favor by any means it is not that crazy of an idea to think things could fall in their favor.
So how can San Diego still win the AFC West?
First off the Chargers would have to win their final three games to finish out the season 9-7. This isn't impossible as the Bolts have been playing good football as of late behind a much better Philip Rivers. The Chargers remaining opponents are Baltimore at home this week finished up by two road games at Detroit and Oakland.
While the Ravens are a good football team they have struggled at times on the road this year so San Diego should have a good chance of victory. The following weekend presents maybe the toughest test as the Lions are a team that could really give Rivers trouble with their defensive line. Let's assume for now that San Diego once again finishes strong and wins these two games this would set up a possible playoff tiebreaker with Oakland.
If San Diego can beat Oakland in the final weekend that would mean both the Chargers and Raiders would finish at best with a record of 9-7 and the Chargers would own the tiebreaker over the Raiders due to division record. This is assuming ofcourse that the Raiders haven't eliminated themselves already with losses to the Lions and Chiefs.
So even though the Chargers can catch up to Oakland in semi-easy fashion it doesn't mean they still don't need a lot of help from the Broncos.
The Broncos currently sit at 8-5 with three games remaining against New England, Buffalo and Kansas City to finish out the year. If the Broncos can find a way to win one of these games then San Diego has no chance to win the division as the Bolts lose on tiebreakers to Denver.
So it comes down to San Diego needing to win out and the Broncos needing to lose out. Once again this is not likely but it has happened before.
In 2008, the Broncos held a three game lead over the Chargers with only three games to play and promptly lost every remaining game while San Diego won out to take the division. So can history repeat itself? Lets take a look at Denver's opponents.
This weekend the Broncos figure to have a certain L on their schedule as Tom Brady and the Patriots are odds on favorites to finally put an end to Tebow time for at least a week. Then on Christmas Eve they have to travel to a likely very cold Buffalo to take on a still dangerous at times Bills team, this definitely is not an easy win. This means the Broncos AFC West chances could very likely come down to a New Years Day clash against Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Broncos would likely be favorites it would surprise no one if the Chiefs defense steps up and plays a good game and Orton plays a strong game to take down his former team.
So once again the chance the Chargers win the division are very very slim but it is just crazy to think a team who is ready to fire their coach and endured a six game losing streak has a still semi reasonable way to win their division.
Two games could have easily turned the Chargers division hopes around drastically. The first is obviously if Rivers could have held onto the snap against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football and the second was the Marion Barber game against Denver last weekend. The fumble by Rivers needs no further detail but Charger fans had to be almost as angry as Bears fans last weekend when Barber ran out of bounds to give Denver a chance and then fumbled in overtime.
For fans of rival AFC West teams the question then becomes if the miracle scenario happens and the Chargers do somehow win the division does Norv Tuner keep his job?