Monday, December 16, 2013
Morning Links: Chargers still need help
By Eric D. Williams
SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. The San Diego Chargers’ playoff chances were not helped by the Miami Dolphins (8-6) win at home against New England on Sunday.
However, San Diego’s path to the postseason remains the same. The Chargers need to win their final two games at home against Oakland and Kansas City, finishing alone at 9-7. Along with that, the Dolphins have to lose their final two games at Buffalo and at home against the New York Jets, coupled with the Ravens (7-6) losing two of their last three games. The Ravens travel to Detroit to face the Lions in Monday Night Football, then finish the season at home against New England and on the road at Cincinnati.
This projected playoff scenario using ESPN’s playoff machine shows the Chargers getting in at 9-7 as the last AFC Wild Card team, and traveling to Cincinnati for a rematch against the Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs.
ESPN Dolphins beat reporter James Walker writes that Miami’s win over New England makes the Dolphins’ path to the playoffs simple -- win at Buffalo and at home to the New York Jets in the regular season finale and they are in.
In this ESPN Insider piece, Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus ranks the roster depth of every NFL roster. The Chargers are placed at No. 13 in the league, which I thought was a bit high. Jahnke: “The Chargers have used a nickel defense most often this season, which makes Sean Lissemore (+15.2), Lawrence Guy (+8.5) and Cam Thomas (+2.4) all backups -- with Lissemore standing out the most. Whether you consider Woodhead or Ryan Mathews the starting running back, both have played very well when called on. Ladarius Green (+9.3) also looks like a future star at tight end. The Chargers tried to fix the offensive line in the offseason, but it still has a little ways to go. Due to injuries, they lack players who can come off the bench and provide a pass rush off the edge.”