By Dave Thomas
You may have heard those death knells both in and outside San Diego over the last two weeks.
What could have been a 5-1 team going into its bye is suddenly a squad sitting at 3-3, in essence trailing rival Denver by a game since the Chargers lost to Peyton Manning and the Broncos last Monday night.
The truth, however, is that the Bolts are right there in the AFC playoff hunt after six weeks. In fact, they’re in about as good as a position as anyone else lining up around the conference these days.
While Houston and Baltimore (which meet in Houston Oct. 21) sit atop their respective divisions with 5-1 marks, all the other serious contenders at this point are 3-3 at best.
In the AFC East, all four participants are at 3-3 going into Sunday’s action, with the Jets slated to play in New England.
Meantime, the Cincinnati Bengals are 3-3 in the AFC North, two games behind the division-leading Ravens, while perennial power Pittsburgh is at 2-3. The Steelers and Bengals square off in the Sunday night game.
As most Charger fans know, the Bolts and Broncos sit at 3-3 in the AFC West, while Oakland (1-4) and Kansas City (1-5) are a miracle short of turning around their seasons. Unless something drastic happens, it will be either San Diego or Denver claiming the division title when all is said and done.
So, while the Chargers could be right there alongside the Ravens and Texans with the top mark of 5-1 going into this weekend, all should not despair.
Other than their trip to Denver on Nov. 18, the Chargers should be favored over the next month, meeting Cleveland (1-5) on the road, hosting Kansas City (1-5), and traveling to Tampa Bay (2-3). While the notion is true that any given thing can happen on a Sunday, San Diego could very well be sitting at 6-3 when it heads to the Mile High City for the rematch with Denver.
One of the major concerns for the Chargers going forward over the remaining two months is their 1-2 mark at home. With tough home games still to go against Baltimore (Nov. 25) and Cincinnati (Dec. 2), the Chargers could find themselves battling to finish over. 500 just at home this season.
Chargers May Find A Better Taste To Being On The Road
While most players in any sport will tell you there is nothing like home cooking, having three of their next four games on the road might be just thing the doctor ordered for the Bolts.
Get out of town and away from the naysayers, come out each game with a mentality of it is us against the world, and beat the teams that you should win against on paper.
With a number of the Chargers saying they would use some of the bye week time to go home to their families and forget about football for a few days, perhaps that will be the right call when all is said and done. Then again, many of them may find that they want to get back to practice ASAP to fix the errors that have shown up the last two weeks.
As we all know, everyone likes a little home cooking from time to time, but sometimes life on the road isn’t so bad after all.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.