Some consider it taboo to talk about the playoffs this early in the season.
Don't count Philip Rivers in that group.
As the Chargers return from the bye, kicking off the second half of their season Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the quarterback was frank about the importance of this week's game.
Simply put, it's pivotal for the team's postseason push.
"It starts really this week," he said. "This is a key week for us, coming off a bye playing against a hot Jacksonville team who's also going to be in the thick of both their division race, and the playoff race. This is obviously a big week….We can all see we have an eight game season left. We have this third quarter ahead of us starting in Jacksonville. If we keep trending the right way, we can find ourselves right in the mix as we get to December."
At 5-3, the Jaguars are tied with the Tennessee Titans atop the AFC South, and currently sit in the first wild card position. They are one of a few teams the Bolts are chasing for a coveted spot in the postseason.
Still, while cognizant of the big picture, their primary focus is finding a way to beat the upstart Jags.
"There's plenty to worry about with us just finding a way to beat Jacksonville," Philip Rivers said. "Be 1-0 this week. I know that's boring, but I think at the same time, and I think our guys appreciate it, Coach (Anthony) Lynn doesn't shy away from the fact of what's out there (for the playoffs). We're all human. It's not like, well, don't worry about what's out there. That's what we talk about. What can still happen and what can we still achieve. All those things are out there. We always talk about winning the West. (We've) already won two in the division, obviously we lost two, (and) we've got some division games left. We've got plenty of AFC games left. All those things are still out there."
Indeed, the Chargers are still in the thick of the AFC West race.
That looked remote early in the season after the Bolts went 0-4 and the Kansas City Chiefs were off to a red-hot 5-0 start. However, things are starting to condense in the division as L.A. is within striking distance of the top spot.
"As it got going, and you're sitting there at 0-4 and you see how hot Kansas City was, you're almost going, 'Goodness gracious, we could be sitting here where if we did fight our way back to where we are at 3-5, they can be sitting there are at 7-1,'" Rivers said. "You just already feel like you're fighting for just those two spots that are left. So, we still have that goal out in front of us (now with the way recent games have gone). It is still there. Obviously, we can't worry about Kansas City or Oakland or Denver. We have to worry about us."