By Dave Thomas
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the San Diego Chargers almost to a man will likely tell you that each game is a “must-win” game if the Bolts are to get back in the AFC playoff hunt. No, there does not appear to be panic setting in the Chargers’ locker room, but that doesn’t mean there are not more than a few questions being raised about where the team is at after six games and how it can turn things around.
While quarterback Philip Rivers is lighting up the league through six games (2,116 yards passing, 12 touchdowns), San Diego has only managed to win two of those contests. Making matters worse, the Bolts are beset by injuries after six weeks, something many other teams in the league can relate to. Injuries in last week’s 27-20 loss at Green Bay to the likes of Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates is leaving both of them as “questionable” for this Sunday’s home meeting with the rival Oakland Raiders (2-3). If one or neither can go, that puts all the more pressure on San Diego’s running game, a running attack that has failed to terrorize any opponents after six games.
Bolts Need Win To Get Back On Track
When looking at the remaining 10 games on the schedule, while San Diego is of course capable of winning all of them, they are also capable of dropping several or many of them if they continue to not play a full 60-minute game. After hosting Oakland this weekend, the Bolts’ schedule appears as such:
- Nov. 1 – at Baltimore
- Nov. 9 – CHICAGO
- Nov. 22 – KANSAS CITY
- Nov. 29 – at Jacksonville
- Dec. 6 – DENVER
- Dec. 13 – at Kansas City
- Dec. 20 – MIAMI
- Dec. 24 – at Oakland
- Jan. 3 – at Denver
So, can the Chargers run the table or close to it over these last 10 games and put themselves in a prime position in the AFC playoffs? Both November road games are against teams struggling mightily this season (Baltimore, Jacksonville). The home games are with a Chicago team at 2-4 and a Kansas City squad which is having an unusually horrid season to date at 1-5.
When you turn the page to December, three of the four contests are with AFC West rivals (including the currently unbeaten Denver Broncos) and a home date with an off-and-on Miami squad. San Diego ends the regular season with a Jan. 3 date in the Mile High City against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Before the Chargers can turn the clock ahead to November, there is work to be done this Sunday versus Oakland. With a dinged-up offensive line and several offensive weapons questionable for the meeting with the Raiders, San Diego and its fans can only hope that as many hands are on deck as possible to send the Raiders to defeat.
Jahleel Addae, strong safety (back)
Kyle Emmanuel, outside linebacker (shoulder)
D.J. Fluker, offensive guard (ankle)
Orlando Franklin, offensive guard (ankle)
Keenan Allen, wide receiver (hip)
King Dunlap, tackle (concussion)
Antonio Gates, tight end (knee)
Melvin Gordon, running back (ankle)
Chris Hariston, offensive tackle (ankle)
Stevie Johnson, wide receiver (hamstring)
Manti Te’o, inside linebacker (ankle)
Chris Watt, center (groin)
Craig Mager, corner (hamstring)
Eric Weddle, free safety (groin)
Tourek Williams, outside linebacker (foot)
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.