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Do-or-Die for Chargers in Detroit

Bolts must win out, or playoff hopes are dead

By Michael Gehlken
|  Saturday, Dec 24, 2011  |  Updated 2:12 PM PDT
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Do-or-Die for Chargers in Detroit

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San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers #17 drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California.

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Do or die.

It's all on the line.

The San Diego Chargers must win out, starting Saturday against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, or they will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Chargers (7-7) can only win the AFC West at 9-7, as a loss to the Lions will give the Denver Broncos the common-opponent tiebreaker should both teams end the year at 8-8.

With a win, the Chargers can clinch a division title next week by defeating the Oakland Raiders with a Broncos home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos clinch the AFC West with a Week 17 win.

To contend for the wild card, San Diego must force a 9-7 tiebreaker. It'll need the Cincinnati Bengals to lose at home to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17. The Bengals clinch the final wild-card spot with a win.

Should the Chargers and Bengals both finish 9-7, as many as two other teams may join them in a last-ditch wild-card tiebreaker. The New York Jets and Tenneseee Titans could enter the picture with Week 17 road wins over the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans, respectively.

Chargers win two-way tiebreaker with Bengals.

Chargers win three-way tiebreaker Bengals and Titans.

Chargers win four-way tiebreaker with Bengals, Titans and Jets.

Chargers lose three-way tiebreaker with Bengals and Jets.

But first things first.

If the Chargers lose to the Lions, their playoff hopes are dead.

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