By Dave Thomas
At this time of the year in the NFL, some teams are playing for playoff positioning and others are just playing out the string. When the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos collide this Sunday in the Mile High City, there is much on the line for the latter.
Depending on how New England and Cincinnati (hosts Baltimore) do earlier in the day in their respective games, the Broncos will have a better idea of where they will end up being seeded in the AFC playoffs.
With the possibility of getting the best record in the AFC, the Broncos will no doubt be rooting for the Miami Dolphins (playing New England at home). A New England loss and a Denver (11-4) win over San Diego would give the Broncos the top seed in the conference. On the flip side, a Denver loss and a Kansas City win would drop the Broncos all the way down to a wild card seed, giving the Chiefs the AFC West crown.
Meantime, San Diego (4-11) is playing out the string of what has undoubtedly been a terrible season, though that may be putting it mildly.
Coming into 2015, the Chargers were expected to not only contend for the AFC West title, but also be a factor in the AFC playoffs. As the record duly states now, San Diego has proven to be one of the biggest flops this season.
San Diego Looking To End On Positive Note
When you’re seven games under .500, it is safe to say that your season has been downright ugly.
While the Chargers got off to a 2-2 start, the season all but unfolded from that point on.
San Diego would end up going 2-9 over its next 11 games, leaving it where it is heading into Denver this Sunday. Making matters equally disturbing, San Diego is 0-5 against AFC West opponents this season, meaning Sunday’s game is its last opportunity to come away with a divisional win.
Even though no announcements have been made, it would seem a shocker at this point if head coach Mike McCoy is once again patrolling the sidelines in 2016.
McCoy, who is the former offensive coordinator of the Broncos, recorded a pair of 9-7 seasons his first two years in San Diego (including a playoff victory over Cincinnati in the 2013 season), but has watched his team take a major free-fall in 2015.
While it is easy to point fingers at the offensive line woes, the lack of a consistent running game, the inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis, and missed opportunities in the final minutes of many losses this season, the Chargers have definitely been in position to win all but two of their losses this season.
Whether or not McCoy returns in 2016, and whether or not the Chargers call San Diego or Los Angeles home next season, it is safe to say that changes need to and will be done going into next season.
In the meantime, a win over the rival Broncos would make the taste of this season a little less sour.
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.