The San Diego Chargers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. It didn’t look good, but they got a lot of help and they’re in. Steelers fans may call the help "cheating", but Chargers fans will call it karma. Regardless, they are now in the playoffs and they’re coming in hot. Are the Chargers an under the radar team to fear? Those are the type of teams that always seem to excel in the playoffs and somehow make it to the Super Bowl.
The Chargers are currently on a hot streak winning five out of their last six and four in a row. There are a few reasons why the Chargers could be a team to fear in the playoffs. Besides the hot streak, their coach Mike McCoy has quarterback Phillip Rivers playing some of his best ball. Rivers has a 69.5% completion percentage this season. He’s also thrown for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns. He hasn’t played this well since 2008. It helps that Rivers now has a favorite target in rookie Keenan Allen who has 1,046 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this year. That’s a great asset for this team.
Secondly, their running back Ryan Mathews is finally playing well. After years of being set at the running back position with LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers experienced a void for a few years when Tomlinson was released. The reason for that void was because Mathews, who was L.T’s successor, didn’t play well in his first few seasons. He is now hitting his stride though and most importantly he's been healthy. He’s had a great season with 1,255 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. He’s also had 189 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. The Chargers finally have a balanced offense with a great passing and rushing attack. Their offense ranks fifth in the league this season.
Thirdly, they have one of the best safeties in the game. Eric Weddle is playing some great defense this year. He has 115 combined tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions this year. That safety net in the secondary will help the linebackers and the rest of the Chargers defense. Although the Chargers defense ranks 23rd overall, they do have playmakers on that side of the ball and they have good coaching with John Pagano.
The quality of the coaching staff really helps. They have good coaches on both sides of the ball and a great head coach as well. The Chargers have also beaten quality teams this season by beating the Denver Broncos, the Indianapolis Colts and then the Kansas City Chiefs twice.
No one can tell what’s going to happen in the playoffs, but the San Diego Chargers should be on everyone’s radars. Their first matchup will be against the Cincinnati Bengals who they faced in week 13. The Chargers lost by a touchdown. The Bengals are good, but are easily beatable. The Chargers will surely make adjustments and if they make it to the next round that will only give them more confidence. The Chargers have a lot going for them, so they can definitely make some noise in the playoffs for the AFC. Watch out for them.