Knotted Atop the AFC West

The Chargers had an opportunity to sit alone atop the AFC West on Sunday by winning against the Miami Dolphins who sported a backup quarterback at the helm. Instead they were embarrassed 30-3 and lost a potential golden opportunity to go a game up on the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

Instead the Oakland Raiders won their game against Arizona, and the Denver Broncos lost in overtime to Indianapolis. All three teams are now 7-4. The Chargers face the Broncos next week at Qualcomm, while the Raiders face the New York Jets on Monday night in Oakland.

With three losses in the past four games the Chargers are dangerously close to losing out on a playoff berth. Remember, with realignment only two wild card teams will make it to the playoffs.

The most crucial games of the season come now. Five games remain to make that statement. It starts this week against a Denver team that has backup quarterback Steve Beuerlein leading the assault.

More important is the Chargers must realize the time to make strides is this coming week. A team is measured by their resilience late in the season. Just ask the Raiders of the past few seasons. They have been notoriously slow finishers. The Chargers can ill afford to drop the next game against Denver and go to 7-5. A number of teams should be 7-5 or better in the AFC and it is best to stay in front of the pack and not rely on those last few games to get into the playoffs especially when you look at the strength of schedules of each team.

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