SportsNation Blog Archives San Diego Chargers
Thursday night AFC shakeup?
We didn't see that coming. Sure, the San Diego Chargers have posted some impressive victories this season -- at Kansas City, anyone? -- but their 27-20 win in Denver on Thursday came as a surprise. It also might have shaken up a somewhat clear regular-season picture in the AFC. Suddenly, San Diego is back in decent playoff position. Denver, off an uncharacteristically slow offensive performance, might need a pair of road wins to clinch a division that seemed theirs. How will the last two-plus weeks play out?
While the Denver Broncos were taking control of the AFC West against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the other three top AFC contenders took care of business to extend their leads atop their respective divisions. And although none has officially clinched, the Cincinnati Bengals (two games up), New England Patriots (three) and Indianapolis Colts (also three) seem destined to host playoff contests come January.
Elsewhere, the Miami Dolphins moved to .500 by hammering the New York Jets, while the Baltimore Ravens looked on after beating the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving. Which wild-card contender will taste the postseason? How will the division leaders fare?
The Patriots moved to 9-3 on Sunday -- but had to eke out a win over Houston.
The Bengals topped the host Chargers 17-10, moving them to 8-4 with three home games left.
Indy hasn't looked great of late but is 8-4 and should cruise to the AFC South title.
The Dolphins and Ravens are one game ahead of a four-team pack at 5-7.
Who makes playoffs from AFC?
With each passing week, things get muddier in the AFC playoff picture. Well, not among the top five teams -- the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals all have one foot through the postseason door. But that last spot is up for grabs, with eight teams within one game of qualifying.
The New York Jets, they of a 37-14 loss at Buffalo on Sunday, are tied for the spot. The Miami Dolphins, who gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their first win all season, also own a 5-5 record. A trio of AFC North teams -- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens -- all are 4-6, as are the Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. How will the whole thing play out?
AFC playoff race heating up
Six AFC teams end Week 10 within one game of the second wild-card spot. Two -- the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns -- are clawing ever closer to the top of the AFC North, whose leader (the Cincinnati Bengals) lost its second straight game Sunday and its defensive leader last Thursday. In other words, intrigue abounds in the season's final seven weeks.