Los Angeles Chargers Playoff Scenarios and Chances: Little Margin for Error Entering Week 14

What are the Los Angeles Chargers' playoff chances entering Week 14, and what are their potential scenarios to get into the postseason?

The Los Angeles Chargers‘ 2023 season has been marked by inconsistent performances. Yet, entering Week 14, they remain very much alive in the AFC playoff picture. An ugly win last week got them to 5-7 and within two games of the Wild Card spots in the AFC standings with five games to play.

With the assistance of the free PFN NFL Playoff Predictor, let’s examine the Chargers’ playoff scenarios and chances as we head into the final five weeks of the 2023 season.

1 p.m. ET Games Update
Bengals (7-6) defeated Colts (7-6)
Jets (5-8) defeated Texans (7-6)
Ravens (10-3) defeated Rams (6-7)
Browns (8-5) defeated Jaguars (8-5)

4 p.m. ET Games Update
Vikings (7-6) defeated Raiders (5-8)
Broncos (7-6) defeated Chargers (5-8)
Bills (7-6) defeated Chiefs (8-5)

What Are the Los Angeles Chargers’ Playoff Chances and Scenarios in 2023?

Despite being two games under .500, the Chargers remain very much in the 2023 AFC playoff race. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Chargers an 18.2% chance of making the playoffs this season. Additionally, with the Kansas City Chiefs stumbling atop the division, the FPI gives the Chargers a 3.4% chance of winning the AFC West.

The Chargers can make a big stride toward a playoff spot in Week 14 if they defeat the Denver Broncos. That would move the Chargers to 6-7 and ahead of the Broncos thanks to a superior head-to-head record. The Chargers’ week got off to a great start when the Pittsburgh Steelers lost on Thursday Night Football, dropping them to 7-6.

However, the Chargers could still see other results go their way this week to boost their playoff chances. The New York Jets prevailing over the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars defeating the Cleveland Browns would keep two of their rivals at 7-6 and within reach.

If you are a Chargers fan, the Indianapolis Colts/Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills/Kansas City Chiefs games are the most intriguing. A Chiefs victory would help in terms of pushing the Bills to 6-7 but would reduce any remote chance the Chargers have of the division. However, a Bills win takes them to 7-6 and puts the Chargers closer to the division.

Meanwhile, a Colts victory moves them to 8-5 but keeps the Bengals at 6-7. That moves the Colts further away as the fifth seed but stops the Bengals from staying a game ahead of the Chargers.

Wins for the Colts and Chiefs could see the Chargers jump as high as ninth in the AFC playoff standings in a four-way tie at 6-7. That would leave the Chargers just one game outside of the sixth and seventh seeds with four to play.

MORE: Los Angeles Chargers Depth Chart

A win for the Chargers this week would also move them to 4-4 in terms of their conference record, which could prove crucial in terms of NFL playoff tiebreakers later in the season. As the Chargers do not face the Colts, Texans, Browns, or Steelers this season, conference record could well decide the Wild Card spots in Week 18.

A loss for the Chargers this week would not be terminal to their playoff hopes, but it would put them in major strife. The Chargers would be two games behind the Broncos and at least two games outside of the AFC playoff picture. There is a set of results that could see the Chargers three games outside of the Wild Card spots with four to play.

Can the Chargers Still Win the AFC West in 2023?

The Chargers’ chances of winning the division are slim at just 3.4%, but they could get a big boost in Week 14. A Chargers win combined with a loss for the Chiefs against the Bills would move Los Angeles within two games of the division with four to play. Additionally, the Chargers face the Chiefs in Week 18, so would only need help in one other game for a chance to finish level on record with Kansas City.

Then, it’s all about tiebreakers. At the very least, the Chargers would need to beat the Chiefs in Week 18. Kansas City prevailed 31-17 in their first meeting of the season back in Week 7. Therefore, if the Chargers lost that Week 18 game, they would need to finish at least half a game ahead of the Chiefs in terms of overall record to win the division.

A Chargers victory in Week 18, along with a sweep of their other four games would put them in pole position for the division. The Chargers would be assured a 5-1 record in that scenario, and the best the Chiefs could manage would be 4-2. The Broncos or Las Vegas Raiders would also not be able to match the Chargers on overall record.

If the Chargers go 5-0 down the stretch, they need the Chiefs to go 2-3. That leaves little room for error. Hoping for the Chiefs to lose two other games is asking a lot. Looking for four losses in total is pushing your luck. Therefore, the Chargers’ only realistic path to the division is a perfect finish over the next five weeks and then crossing their fingers for some help to keep the division alive entering Week 18.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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