By Eric Ronnebeck
You may (or may not) have noticed that last week this column took a break. Why a break? Well, in my exuberance to shove various teams’ seasons off the cliff I realized that if I didn’t slow down there would be no column at the end of the season. No column at the end of the season means there’s no column where I get to sweep a team, who was clearly a lock for a playoff spot, out into the cold. I can’t have that. So without further ado, let’s take a trip to the AFC West to see whose season is over.
San Diego Chargers (2-6): The Charger’s season started out pretty well. It started out how it usually does in San Diego: the national media talks about how great Philip Rivers is and how this is the year the Chargers put everything together to make a deep run in the playoffs. I never believe any of it because I’m a football fan and I’ve watched the Chargers play football. Philip Rivers is a good quarterback, I don’t see a valid argument against that. However, I can’t think of any other positions in San Diego that have such talent. Their running game is a question mark and let me remind you that this Chargers team didn’t always make the playoffs when they had Ladainian Tomlinson alongside Philip Rivers. Danny Woodhead has a lot of talent at that position but he’s not enough to deliver any sort of rushing attack the Chargers need. When you switch your focus to the defensive side of the ball, things look even worse. The Chargers don’t have the worst defense but they don’t have much in the way of stand out talent either. It can be a “hot sports take” to say something like “there’s no one on defense who strikes fear into the other team” but I truly believe that sentence when I think about the San Diego Chargers defense. Outside of Philip Rivers, this Chargers team isn’t bad. That’s just not enough to bring your team to the playoffs on a regular basis.
As we head into week 9 of the NFL season I need to point out something kind of cool. In the AFC West, there are two teams that have been featured in this column and neither one of them is the Oakland Raiders. Yeah, in week 9 of the 2015 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders still have a shot at the playoffs. That’s not the same as being 8-0 but for the Raiders that’s a huge step in the right direction. Next week, another team will be ushered into the abyss and it will, again, not be a team from the NFC East as that division winner may make the playoffs at 7-9.