AFC West Roundup: Week 12

Nov 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws as center Rodney Hudson (61) and offensive guard Kelechi Osemele (70) block against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws as center Rodney Hudson (61) and offensive guard Kelechi Osemele (70) block against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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October 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) runs past Oakland Raiders cornerback David Amerson (29) during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
October 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) runs past Oakland Raiders cornerback David Amerson (29) during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

San Diego Chargers

4th Place in AFC West

Record: 5-6
Previous Game: defeated Houston Texans (6-5) 21-13 in Houston
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) Sun, Dec 4, 4:25 EST

The Chargers are now only two games out of the wild card spot with five to play, and Philip Rivers has already declared he thinks they can make the playoffs.

Insert Jim Mora voice here “Playoffs! Playoffs?!?” You go Philly Riv.

More games like the one in Houston must come for that to happen. The Chargers have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot, particularly in the fourth quarter, but they played a solid, relatively mistake-free game (Rivers with a pick, of course) and won the turnover battle to beat the Texans.

Even if the Chargers do run the table, they will be 10-6 and fighting many other teams that would be right around the same mark. The Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, Bills, Ravens, Steelers, and even Titans and Colts all have a shot to finish with 10 wins.

Many have a better shot than the Chargers, but they surely won’t quit. It won’t be easy though.

They welcome the red-hot Bucs to Qualcomm this Sunday. The Bucs are fresh off a physical domination of perennial bully Seattle, and the week before they handed the Chiefs their first Arrowhead loss in 11 games.

The Bucs have playoff aspirations also and are now just a game behind the Falcons in the NFC South. Jameis Winston has played quality, mistake-free football the past few weeks. Mike Evans is a load to handle and Doug Martin is getting healthier. Combine that with an improving defense and this is a tough test for the Chargers.

They are the longest of shots to even position themselves for the playoffs. But with Rivers, Gordon and the defense they’re playing they can beat anyone. They can score 30 points in a hurry.

With games against the Raiders and Chiefs still left, the Chargers are still talented and have an opportunity to affect what happens in the AFC West regardless of their own playoff hopes.

You can bet the Chargers still relish the chance to beat the Raiders and Chiefs. Affecting one or both of their playoff hopes? Merry Christmas, Chargers.

December is here, and Christmas is coming. AFC West fans are getting everything they want and more for a divisional race under the tree this year.