Can the Los Angeles Chargers Win the AFC?

There’s no doubt the AFC is loaded with talented teams, but can the Los Angeles Chargers play the role of spoiler and win the conference?

The Chargers enter the AFC playoffs as the fifth seed and open on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Things didn’t go as planned for LA when the teams met in Week 3, with the Jaguars blowing out the Chargers 38-10. 

Mark that as a one-off, and don’t expect the same type of game to haunt the Chargers in this rematch.

Breaking Down the Chargers and their Futures

The Chargers are slowly getting healthier leading up to the playoffs but have one injury worth watching: the status of wide receiver Mike Williams. If the dynamic wideout can’t suit up on Saturday night, the Chargers might be hard-pressed to stretch the field. The team has other options in the passing game, but Williams is a unicorn in terms of what he can provide for this team, and it’s noticeable when he’s not out there. Still, you’d likely side with the Chargers’ offensive weapons, even if Williams doesn’t suit up. 

Justin Herbert and the Chargers are 2.5-point road favorites over the Jaguars on the FanDuel Sportsbook. Hypothetically speaking, if the Chargers manage to get past the Jags and the chalk holds, they’ll face the juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs. As daunting as that might sound, the Chargers played the Chiefs tough in two losses this season, losing by a combined margin of just six points. Although the Chiefs likely aren’t scared of the Chargers, is it safe to say they’d rather face another team in the divisional round? That doesn’t seem like a stretch. 

Super Bowl and AFC Odds

Los Angeles sits with the seventh-best Super Bowl odds at +2100, putting them right in the middle with 14 teams remaining. However, their +1100 odds of winning the AFC are the fourth-shortest. The AFC is the more talented side of the bracket, especially considering quarterbacks. Herbert presents a unique challenge for any of the defenses he’ll face. The talented quarterback makes his playoff debut on Saturday and has continued to show that he’s at his best in the spotlight.

If Herbert can continue to be a game-changing quarterback, like he was down the stretch in leading his team to a 10-7 record, there’s no reason the Chargers can’t mirror what Joe Burrow did for the Cincinnati Bengals last year. There are many similarities between the two teams, and not a lot has changed regarding contenders in the AFC. As a result, there’s value in backing the Chargers’ odds of winning the AFC, along with their Super Bowl price.