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Why no team should want to face the Chargers in the playoffs, plus what’s next for Broncos?

Why no team should want to face the Chargers in the playoffs, plus what's next for Broncos?


Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

The Chargers are playoff-bound. I’m happy to see it. The rest of the AFC, if I had to guess, is not.

Behind a stout defense and a pair of Austin Ekeler touchdowns, the Chargers officially punched their postseason ticket as a Wild Card team with a 20-3 win over the Colts.

  • The Chargers’ defense had seven sacks — its most in a game since 2016 — picked off Nick Foles thrice and held the Colts’ offense to 0-for-10 on 3rd down. The Colts’ offense is awful, but that kind of defensive effort is still impressive.
  • Ekeler had 79 yards from scrimmage and two scores on the ground. He’s up to an NFL-leading 16 touchdowns scored this year. Keenan Allen added 11 catches for 104 yards.
  • This will be Justin Herbert’s first postseason, barring injury. He’ll be the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game in Chargers history.

Yes, the Chargers have been up-and-down all year. Their running game is inconsistent at best and nonexistent at worst. The defense has been better of late, but it has had its struggles. Having said that, this team might be the most dangerous of any Wild Card team.

Herbert can (and often does) put the team on his back, and with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams healthy, he’s even more dangerous. Ekeler can do it all. Both the offensive and defensive lines could get a Pro Bowler back in Rashawn Slater and Joey Bosa.

This is a team that went toe-to-toe with the Chiefs twice and the 49ers once and defeated the Dolphins. The amount of high-end talent all over the roster makes this a team no one will want to see in the postseason.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

NATHANIEL HACKETT AND THE DENVER BRONCOS

Nathaniel Hackett‘s disastrous time with the Broncos has come to an end. Denver fired Hackett on Monday just 15 games into his tenure with the team and immediately following a 51-14 Christmas Day dismantling at the hands of the Rams.

Senior assistant Jerry Rosburg — brought in to help Hackett with clock management — will be the interim head coach. Hackett finishes with a 4-11 record and becomes just the fifth coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to not make it through his first season, joining…

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