AFC West Outlook After Six Games

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San Diego Chargers (5-2)

ESPN preseason strength of schedule: 4

Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Remaining schedule: @Broncos, @Dolphins, BYE, Raiders, Rams, @Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, @49ers, @Chiefs.

The Chargers surprised a number of people by racking up a number of early season wins. But they suffer from the same criticism that plagued the Chiefs through their 9-0 start last season — they have played mostly bad teams. They have played only two games against teams who currently have a winning record, and won only one of them (against the Bills). They have also taken three of their wins from the Jaguars, Jets, and Raiders, who have a combined record of 2-18.

That is not to say the Bolts aren’t a good team. They only lost by one point to a now 5-1 Cardinals team in Phoenix.

The big test for the Chargers will be over the last five games of their schedule. That stretch will feature 75 percent of last year’s conference championship teams, and three road games, including two in the final two weeks. The combined record of their opponents over those last five weeks is currently 22-11.

The Chargers got off to a very fast start. If they can win against the better teams on their schedule, then they will be in good shape to make the playoffs. If they stumble before the gauntlet starts in week 13, then they may have their work cut out just to try and make the second wild-card spot.