Chargers' future linked to winning in 17

Think ending the season on a high note isn't important? History shows that winning in week 17 is paramount to playoff success among the top four seeds within the division. And the San Diego Chargers are aiming for that momentum starter this week against Kansas City.

History shows that teams winning in Week 17 improve their chances for playoff success.  In the past five seasons, playoff clubs seeded 1-4 have a far better winning percentage after winning in Week 17 than those that lose in the final week.

Of the 40 top-four seeded clubs since 1999, 30 won in Week 17.  Of those 30, 25 won their first playoff game, for a winning percentage of .833.  The 10 that lost in Week 17 lost their first playoff game in four instances for a .600 winning percentage. 

"You don't want to go into the playoffs with a loss," says safety Cory Hall of the Atlanta Falcons, who play in Seattle Sunday in a playoff-implication game for the Seahawks.  "We want to get rolling, and carry that momentum into the postseason.  I think it's real important that we win and play well." 

Success rate of playoff teams that win in Week 17 since 1999:

PLAYOFF SEEDS 1-4 WINNING IN WEEK 17

30

First Playoff Game

25-5

Winning Percentage

.833

 

 

PLAYOFF SEEDS 1-4 LOSING IN WEEK 17

10

First Playoff Game

6-4

Winning Percentage

.60



"I think it is huge for our confidence," linebacker Ben Leber said. "It is important for us to go out and start fast and finish the game on a positive note going into the playoffs."

The lingering question is whether the Chargers will put a preseason team on the field or if they will deploy the starting unit for a significant amount of time. That could be the difference between a two-game losing streak and a win as they prepare to enter the postseason.

"You don't want to ever have a losing streak going into the playoffs," running back LaDainian Tomlinson agreed.

Losing would amount to just that – a streak of losses.

As history shows, it is important to put your best foot forward. The Chargers will have a Saturday game but they benefit from not having to travel. Whomever they face, whether it be the Jets, Broncos, or Bills, will have to come west to San Diego and may ultimately lose a day of preparation.

Last Sunday, the Chargers found they have kinks in the armor and shoring up those woes before the playoffs begin would be wise. The only way to accomplish that is by going out on Sunday and playing a majority of the starters, a scenario that is about as likely as a trip to Pluto.

Then there is the confidence factor, according to linebacker Donnie Edwards. Nothing brings about confidence like a win.

"If you look at momentum – momentum shifts left and right – the whole ideology of winning trickles down to confidence," he said. "You definitely want to go into the playoff race winning. Just the confidence you exude and feel makes a difference."

Momentum is a funny thing. It can last a quarter, a series, or eight games. The Chargers have proved that if they can get on a roll and sustain it. Now it is a question of whether the coach will let them.


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