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ESPN 'Leaning Yes' on Chargers Playoff Hopes

Buzz 11.15

It's approaching crunch time for the Chargers.

Entering Week 11, the race for the playoffs is cranking up quite a bit as teams try to make the push for the postseason.

With a crowded playoff race in both conferences, ESPN’s Seth Walder divvied up all 32 teams into playoff picture tiers, factoring in ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) projections, strength of schedule and more.

Walder is leaning towards "yes" on the Chargers making the playoffs and slotted them into his fourth tier. He gave them a good shot to advance based on their ability to win despite the injuries and quarterback Justin Herbert's potential.

Walder wrote:

Injuries have struck the Chargers hard, but they also haven't reached the potential of what a Justin Herbert-led team ought to be, particularly because they have played an easy schedule. And yet, they are the second-best team in the once-vaunted AFC West.

Sitting at 5-4, FPI's projections gives the Chargers a 50.4-percent chance of making it into the playoffs — eighth-best in the AFC.

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 10 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers

The Bolts have been battered by injuries thus far, including this past Sunday against the 49ers where defensive linemen Otito Ogbonnia, Christian Covington and tight end Gerald Everett left the game due to injuries.

That will be the X-factor for the Chargers playoff hopes moving forward according to ESPN's Lindsey Thiry, who contributed to Walder's piece, as health can keep them in the race.

Thiry wrote:

Injuries. The Chargers appeared ready-made for the playoffs heading into the season, but injuries have limited them. Herbert has been battling through fractured rib cartilage since Week 2. Receiver Keenan Allen has been dealing with a hamstring injury that has limited him to half a game since Week 1. Fellow receiver Mike Williams is working through a high ankle sprain. And left tackle Rashawn Slater, cornerback J.C. Jackson and edge rusher Joey Bosa are on Injured Reserve, with Slater and Jackson out for the season.

The Chargers could see a big boost soon however, as they hope wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, in addition to outside linebacker Joey Bosa, will return at some point this season.

As the back half of the schedule commences, the Bolts will have crucial matchups against AFC opponents like the Chiefs, Titans and Dolphins that could have major playoff implications and decide each team's fate come January.

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