Photo Credit: The Seattle Times
Los Angeles Chargers:
Won 8 of their last 9.
The Los Angeles Chargers on fire. Winning 8 out of their last 9 games, the Chargers find themselves 1 game back from the division leader (Kansas City Chiefs). The Chiefs just lost Kareem Hunt as well due to a leaked abuse video towards a woman. Even losing Melvin Gordon couldn’t stop them as Austin Ekeler filled the role nicely, and a career year from Keenan Allen is complimenting the run game nicely too. Rookie Derwin James is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro-Bowl with 3.5 sacks and 3 interceptions. As the season nears an end and teams start to buckle up the Chargers defense gets the luxury of adding Joey Bosa on the D-line. Bosa has returned from injury and remains to be a key part of their defense. The Chargers have been overlooked all season and now they seem to be emerging as a legit Super Bowl contender.
Won 9 straight after starting 0-3.
The Houston Texans are here after going undefeated since losing 3 straight against the Patriots, Titans, and Giants. Their 9 game win streak hasn’t consisted of wins over any great teams except arguably the Dallas Cowboys, and they were experiencing issues at that time. Kudos to the Texans though for piecing together this win streak, their roster looks complete on both ends of the ball. Deshaun Watson looks like he never was injured and connecting with Deandre Hopkins. It looks like they have been together for a decade. The loss of Will Fuller V hurts but clearly the Texans have bought in with the acquisition of WR Demaryius Thomas from the Denver Broncos. The defense is solid as expected with familiar faces like J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kareem Jackson all playing on an elite level. New additions in FA acquisition Tyrann Mathieu and 2018 3rd round draft pick Justin Reid out of Stanford have completed this defensive squad and have prepared the Texans to upset a favorite in the playoffs.
Won 3 straight and a hold a 7-5 record in a division with the Rams.
The Legion of Boom may be dead but Pete Carroll has the Seattle Seahawks alive and well. With recent wins over the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks look to claim a wild-card spot after already having to play the Los Angeles Rams twice. That defense may have a new look but Russell Wilson is still there, playing like the elite quarterback he is (2,716 yards, 29:5 touchdown to interception ratio, and 111.5 quarterback rating). Chris Carson has been a consistent RB for them when healthy, and Tyler Lockett is a couple good games away from a 1,000-yard receiving season. With Earl Thomas out, the Seahawks have gone with the next man up mentality on defense playing competently enough to let the offense play their game. Bobby Wagner is their anchor on defense. Don’t sleep on this unheralded team to make an upset.