A decisive win over the Bengals was huge for the Chargers’ chances at making the playoffs. According to Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, the Chargers saw the biggest positive change in their playoff odds of any winning team in week 13. Per their metrics, the Bolts’ chance of getting to the postseason were increased by 28.4 percent. As for the Bengals, their chances dropped by 14.2 percent following the loss.
Of course, the win also bumped the Chargers up a few spots across the various power rankings. After barely hanging on to the top-16, they’re now flirting with the top-10.
As always, in the comments below, let me know if you think the Chargers deserve to be ranked where they are, if they should be higher or low, and why.
Now let’s dive into these rankings.
NFL.com – #10
“The Chargers flew to Cincinnati to ride a roller coaster. Brandon Staley’s team nearly blew a 24-point lead, but a massive touchdown on a fumble recovery by Tevaughn Campbell changed everything in a 41-22 win over the Bengals. It might have been the play of the year for the Bolts, but it wasn’t the only promising development to come out of the victory: Justin Herbert and the big-play attack were back after a frustrating sabbatical. Herbert averaged over 9 yards per attempt and showcased his top-shelf arm strength on an absurd 44-yard TD strike to Jalen Guyton in the second quarter. As CBS analyst Charles Davis deftly put it during the telecast: ‘That call is not in everyone’s playbook.’” – Dan Hanzus
Pro Football Network – #10
“The Chargers’ game against the Bengals reminded me of the Formula 1 race that ended just hours before. It was chaotic. There were MASSIVE momentum swings, but eventually, the team that jumped out to the early lead won because they allowed the other to make the critical mistakes.”
“That is not meant to dissolve the Chargers of their … Chargering. They still turned the ball over 3 times and blew a 22-point lead. I didn’t know who this team was before this game, and I’m still not sure if I do. I love their offensive potential. Heck, I even love their offense as it is, with coordinator Joe Lombardi taking some of the firepower away from Justin Herbert.”
“But LA’s defense is still struggling. They don’t defend the run, and they don’t really have the talent to consistently see good results against the pass. The Chargers have a ton of potential, but I’m not sure if they’re ready to truly compete in the AFC.”
“Bring some bodies in defensively and grab an upgrade to Jalen Guyton (who played well today), and we’re looking at a potential Super Bowl contender in 2022.” – Dalton Miller
Bleacher Report – #11
“The Los Angeles Chargers are becoming quite the yo-yo.”
“Since their Week 7 bye, the Chargers have alternated losses and wins. There was a home loss to the Patriots, then a win in Philly over the Eagles. Then another loss at home to the Vikings. Then a wild win over the Steelers. Then a lopsided road loss to the Broncos. And now a decisive win on the road over a good Cincinnati Bengals team.”
“The Chargers peeled off the first 24 points of the game against the Bengals. They also sacked Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow six times and forced four turnovers, including a Joe Mixon fumble returned for a score that all but ended the Bengals’ comeback effort.”
“While speaking to CBS Sports’ Evan Washburn after the game, Chargers safety Derwin James said the team needs to play at this level more consistently.”
“‘Everybody’s seen the type of team we have today,” James said. “… We just have to be consistent with it. All four quarters, not two quarters.’”
“‘The Chargers are easily one of the NFL’s most intriguing teams,’ Sobleski said. ‘Justin Herbert is truly special with his playmaking ability and natural arm talent. Along with a strong supporting cast, the Chargers can score on anyone. The defense is well-coached by Brandon Staley, too. They can face any opponent and beat them. They just need to be more consistent.’”
Sporting News – #11
“The Chargers are staying firmly in the playoff picture and a big reason why is how well the offense is operating with Justin Herbert working to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler. Tne defense also came out and swamred Joe Burrow, making their talented second-year QB was the one winning and more comfortable to make big plays.” – Vinnie Iyer
CBS Sports – #11
“They impressed in beating the Bengals on the road. The defense made some big plays, including a fumble return for a score, to win that one.” – Pete Prisco
USA Today – #11
“Want to find some consistency from this bunch? Well, since Week 5, they’ve won in all odd-numbered weeks and lost in all even-numbered ones. But Sunday’s home date with the faltering Giants could be welcome tendency breaker for the Bolts.” – Nate Davis
Pro Football Talk – #12
“This rollercoaster likely has a few more ups and downs left.” – Mike Florio
ESPN – #13
“Jackson was thought to be the No. 2 running back behind Austin Ekeler but missed two straight games with shoulder injuries, and Jackson has yet to play more than 16% of offensive snaps in any contest. He had six carries for 15 yards against the Bengals. The Chargers are in great need for a solid No. 2 back, and Ekeler has the tools; but he can’t get on the field.” — Shelley Smith