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Chargers Close In On Playoffs Miracle

By Derek Togerson
|  Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013  |  Updated 9:29 AM PDT
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Chargers Close In on Playoffs Miracle

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LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

All the Chargers can control is themselves.

If you don't believe me, just look at the transcript from San Diego head coach Mike McCoy's Monday media conference. He says some variation of "we can only control ourselves," or at least alludes to that point, eight different times (because most of the questions led him back to that point, and rightfully so).

All anyone who roots for the Chargers wants to talk about is the playoffs. The Bolts got halfway home after Sunday's scintillating series of events, from Miami's shutout loss in Buffalo to Baltimore's blowout loss to New England to San Diego's 26-13 win over Oakland.

Now all the Bolts need is for the exact same thing to happen again next weekend.

They truly cannot impact the Ravens as they play in Cincinnati (and with a chance at the #2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first round bye, the Bengals will be giving it their best shot) or the Dolphins as they host the New York Jets (who are likely playing to try and save head coach Rex Ryan's job).

So, the easiest part of the equation will probably be beating Kansas City at Qualcomm Stadium. I know, it's not easy to say that about an 11-4 team that has already secured a playoff spot. But, it's pretty easy to say about a team that has already secured THIS playoff spot.

You see, the Chiefs are stuck in the 5th seed. Win, lose or draw, that is not changing. So, head coach Andy Reid does not have a whole lot of incentive to leave his best players in the game very long (if at all) and risk them getting hurt right before the post-season.

"I think it's what you feel most comfortable with as a coach," said Reid on Monday. "The obvious benefit is you rest your guys. You kind of get them back to feeling a little bit fresher than they are at the end of the season."

Kansas City has lost four of its last six games. They have dealt with injuries, especially on defense. They could use a break to get rested up. However, coach Reid stopped just short of saying he'll actually do it.

"I'm going to take the time to evaluate it and make sure what I do is right," said Reid. "There's a bit of a gut feeling that you go with, so I'll go off of that."

If history is any indicator, the Chiefs will shut it down early on Sunday in San Diego. As head coach of the Eagles, Reid's teams faced this season-ending situation four times. Every time, Andy either sat his starters or pulled them from the game after a few series, much like a pre-season game. Philly then won their first playoff game three of those four seasons.

Reid has had success with this strategy in the past. Don't expect him to change that now.

Advantage: Chargers.

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