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NFL playoff picture: What does Broncos-Chargers mean for AFC standings

The Broncos face the Chargers in LA on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Result: The Chargers beat the Broncos 34-13. The win knocked the Broncos, Dolphins, and Browns out of the playoff competition. LA improved to 9-7 and moves into seventh place ahead of the Raiders. Las Vegas and LA face off next weekend with the winner in the playoffs and the loser likely headed home barring some help.

The Los Angeles Chargers play host to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, January 2nd. Kickoff from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California is set for 4:05 p.m. ET with the game airing on CBS. While they can’t win the AFC West, there are still playoff spots up for grabs.

AFC playoff picture

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs have clinched the AFC West and that is the only playoff spot that is secured heading into this week. Both the Chargers and the Broncos are currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. Even so, the Chargers are one game back of jumping up to the No. 5 seed while the Broncos are needing to win both of their final games to even have a shot at the No. 7 seed and barely sneak their way in.

When these two teams met in Week 12, it was the Broncos that came away with the 28-13 win as the Chargers struggled to figure out the Denver defense. With both teams needing a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt, this one should be exciting and close.

Relevant Week 17 matchups

Falcons (7-8) @ Bills (9-6)
Chiefs (11-4) @ Bengals (9-6)
Dolphins (8-7) @ Titans (10-5)
Raiders (8-7) @ Colts (9-6)
Jaguars (2-13) @ Patriots (9-6)
Rams (11-4) @ Ravens (8-7)
Browns (7-8) @ Steelers (7-7-1)