SportsNation Blog Archives San Diego Chargers
Ravens change playoff picture?
Six Justin Tucker field goals -- including a 61-yarder with 38 seconds left -- were all the Baltimore Ravens needed on "Monday Night Football" to throw three playoff races for a loop. By beating the Detroit Lions 18-16, Baltimore moved to 8-6 and within one game of the Cincinnati Bengals atop the AFC North. By losing, Detroit fell to 7-7 and a surprising third in an NFC North Division it recently controlled. And then there's the AFC wild-card race, which still features three strong candidates -- four if you count Cincinnati -- fighting for one last spot. How will it all shake out?
pollcenter:category=4819+ravenschangeplayoffpicture?AP Photo/Joe Mahoney
Thursday night AFC shakeup?
We didn't see that coming. Sure, the San Diego Chargers have posted some impressive victories this season -- at Kansas City, anyone? -- but their 27-20 win in Denver on Thursday came as a surprise. It also might have shaken up a somewhat clear regular-season picture in the AFC. Suddenly, San Diego is back in decent playoff position. Denver, off an uncharacteristically slow offensive performance, might need a pair of road wins to clinch a division that seemed theirs. How will the last two-plus weeks play out?
While the Denver Broncos were taking control of the AFC West against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the other three top AFC contenders took care of business to extend their leads atop their respective divisions. And although none has officially clinched, the Cincinnati Bengals (two games up), New England Patriots (three) and Indianapolis Colts (also three) seem destined to host playoff contests come January.
Elsewhere, the Miami Dolphins moved to .500 by hammering the New York Jets, while the Baltimore Ravens looked on after beating the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving. Which wild-card contender will taste the postseason? How will the division leaders fare?
The Patriots moved to 9-3 on Sunday -- but had to eke out a win over Houston.
The Bengals topped the host Chargers 17-10, moving them to 8-4 with three home games left.
Indy hasn't looked great of late but is 8-4 and should cruise to the AFC South title.
The Dolphins and Ravens are one game ahead of a four-team pack at 5-7.