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And Down the Stretch they Come...
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Three quarters of the race is done.
The teams have reached the final quarter pole.
Now the sprint to the finish begins.
As we enter the final quarter of the season, the Los Angeles Chargers are in a three-way tie atop the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.
While the Bolts never lost hope after an 0-4 start to the season, it’s safe to say they didn’t think they’d be tied for the division lead come Week 14. Just listen to what Philip Rivers had to say after the team defeated the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
“We have certainly come a long way from 0-4,” he said. “We dug ourselves just back to above ground. It was a deep hole. We still have work to do, though. But it is exciting to know that now there are three teams at 6-6 in the division with four games to play. If somebody had said, ‘Hey look, you’re going to be knotted up with Kansas City and Oakland with four games to play to win the AFC West’ in May, you can take it or play the season out, we would probably take it.”
While the team has scratched and clawed to put themselves in this position, they know their work has only just begun. December football separates contenders from pretenders. Now, Rivers and company are determined to make the most of this opportunity after putting themselves in position to control their own destiny.
The Bolts’ quest to capture the AFC West crown continues Sunday at StubHub Center when they host Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins. After that, the team heads to Kansas City for an important showdown with the Chiefs before visiting New York for a Christmas Eve game against the Jets. They end the regular season against another rival they’re currently tied with atop the division when they face the Raiders at StubHub Center.
Meanwhile, Kansas City looks to get back on track when they host the Raiders in Week 14. It’s the start of a three game homestand that includes the visit by the Bolts followed by the Miami Dolphins. They’ll close out the season on the road in Denver.
Finally, after visiting the Chiefs, the Raiders will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. They’ll then go cross-country to take on the Philadelphia Eagles before heading to L.A. for the season finale against the Chargers.
“Based on the previous years, we have a chance,” Rivers said about the fight to win the AFC West. “We play both of those teams (we are tied with), but we have Washington coming in next week though. We have to keep taking it one game at a time. When you start 0-4 and the division leader starts 5-0, you know it’s going to be tough to have a chance. But here we are with a chance and we have to keep a very narrow focus.”