November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers (17) during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Phillip Rivers Says "Focus is on Winning AFC West" Despite Chargers Being Past Prime

The Chargers won the AFC West in each of quarterback Philip Rivers‘ first four seasons as the starter. Now they’ve missed the playoffs in three straight seasons, partly because of the decline of Rivers and the aging Antonio Gates coupled with the horrendous coaching of the immortal Norv Turner.

Still, despite the Chargers being relatively the same team and the emergence of the Kansas City Chiefs and the fact that the Denver Broncos still have to “God of Football” Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers went as far as to put it on record that the Chargers goal for this season is winning the AFC West.

In an interview on NFL Network, Rivers said that the primary focus in San Diego is on winning the AFC West, and the Chargers think that if they do that, they’re going to be in very good shape heading into January.

“I think all 32 teams know the ultimate goal is a championship, but I think for us, we’ve got to get back to winning that AFC West,” Rivers said. “It all starts in the division. We won it four, five, six years in a row, and we’ve been out of it now three years in a row.”

The Chargers were swept by the Broncos last year, and finished 7-9, still Rivers seems adamant that he can lead the Chargers to division glory and with that a return to the playoffs.

“We haven’t won our division games,” Rivers said. “I think our focus is winning in the division. You go 3-3 in the division, you’re fighting an uphill battle. You go 5-1, 6-0 in the division . . . I think you win division games, and find a way to get back into January. It’s been rough watching from home there the last three years.”

You can’t blame Rivers for being confident and trying to instill a winning spirit from the get go at training camp, he is a great leader and famously led the Chargers on in the playoffs on one good knee so it is no surprise that Rivers is taking every chance he can get to talk up the Chargers in the media. I get it.

But is he really serious?

If we are all going to be honest, the AFC West is sadly a one horse (donkey) race this season and that horse belongs to Denver regardless of how much “molly” Von Miller pops or how many centers of theirs suffer season ending injuries. They have Peyton Manning and the only team in the AFC West that didn’t finish under .500 last season and might just be better in Manning’s second season after neck surgery. So why does Rivers think the Chargers can contend in the AFC West?

Oakland and Kansas City both look they can take at minimum their home meetings with San Diego this season and it would take a complete shock of a turnaround for San Diego to sweep the Broncos so it is hard for me to fathom a world in which the Chargers win the AFC West in 2013. At least not during training camp.

Rivers should be more focused on convincing the Chargers that they could backdoor themselves into the playoffs if they get a couple of bounces, at least that is a realistic goal. I am not buying the Rivers Kool-Aid.

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Tags: AFC West San Diego Chargers

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