Holden Gering / SMDP Intern

After enduring a 21-year NFL drought, it’s no wonder LA football fans are excited about potentially having two teams in the playoffs. However, both the LA Rams and LA Chargers need to shake off their mid-season hiccups to ensure they make it into the postseason.

The Chargers (6-4) did their part last Sunday in a crucial primetime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The return of fearsome defensive lineman Joey Bosa combined with the sparkling play of star quarterback Justin Herbert led the Chargers to a 41-37 victory. Herbert’s 382 yards of passing produced three touchdowns with electrifying running back Austin Ekeler being on the receiving end of two. Ekeler ran for another two TDs to finish the day with four, his most ever. The Chargers racked up a gaudy 533 yards of total offense, which is the eighth most allowed in a game by the Steelers in their 88-year franchise history.

Going into Sunday’s game, the Chargers had won just one out of their last four games. Making matters worse, the AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) won their earlier game Sunday against the Cowboys. After Sunday night’s win against the Steelers, the Chargers remain in second place in the AFC West only one game behind the Chiefs. First year head coach Brandon Staley has made good on his promise and brought a winning culture to the franchise formerly from San Diego. With seven weeks left in the season, the Chargers are one win away from matching their win total from the 2020 season.

Meanwhile, the Rams (7-3) had a bye this past weekend and everything about their recent play suggests that this is a much needed break for rest and recuperation. The Rams have lost their previous two games and, like the Chargers, currently occupy second place in their division. Sitting atop the NFC West are the red hot Arizona Cardinals (9-2), who possess the best record in the NFL. After a tumultuous stint in Detroit, quarterback Matthew Stafford’s move to the Rams this year has produced some scintillating numbers and the fourth best quarterback rating in the NFL. Stafford has already thrown for 3,014 yards this season with his favorite target Cooper Kupp accounting for an astounding 1,141 of those yards. Kupp is the NFL’s leading receiver in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.

Adding to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood are the recent additions of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and defensive end Von Miller. Rams fans and coaches believe they have added the perfect final pieces to their roster and are prepared to make a deep run in the playoffs. Unfortunately, their debut fell flat as the Rams lost an embarrassing Monday night game to the struggling San Francisco 49ers. However, despite the humbling loss, head coach Sean McVay remains positive that the Rams will get back on track in time for the playoffs.

While this season has by no means been perfect for either team, both are within striking distance of a division title and are favored to make the playoffs. The Rams travel to Green Bay this Sunday to take on the Packers (8-3) at 1:25 p.m., while the Chargers visit Denver to play the Broncos (5-5) at 1:05 p.m. Both games are televised, so heat up some leftovers and brush up on your TV remote’s previous-channel function.

news@smdp.com