Monday, December 13, 2010

It's that time of year again

There are two traditions in my life every December. First, the San Diego Chargers will overcome a slow start to mount a strong playoff run. Second, I will blog about it. Last year, the Chargers overcome a 2-3 start against the 6-0 Broncos. The year before that, it was a 4-8 start that turned into a playoff win in the first round. In 2007, a 5-5 start led to the AFC Championship game.

Today, I was excited to see two good games, the Chiefs-Chargers game that was very important to the AFC West, and the Patriots-Bears game that let the NFL sell something to the Chicago market. This year, the Chargers started 3-5 and, not including their 21-0 fourth quarter lead, are 6-6 behind the 8-4 Chiefs. When I saw that Matt Cassel wouldn't play, I sensed that this would also be a cakewalk. Lo and behold, both games are routs, by a combined score of 57-7.

The result will be a narrow 1-game lead for the Chiefs. Head-to-head games are a tie, both teams will be 2-3 in division games, and even 5-4 in conference games, after this game. It's definitely easy to see the Chargers edging into the playoffs, even as a wild card, though the 9-3 Jets and 8-4 Ravens are a distance ahead. The logjam of similarly-situated wild card teams is also impressive. The Dolphins, Colts and even the Raiders, along with the Chargers, trail the Ravens and Jets for two wild card spots.

In the NFC the logjam behind the Giants and Saints really only has the Packers and Buccaneers, but the Rams and Seahawks are in a grim 6-6 battle for first place in the NFC West, which could even be won by the 3-9 Cardinals. The Cardinals are on their way to a win, while the Rams and Seahawks are both losing. Clearly, the Chargers have set the bar very low.

No comments: