(CBSLA)- Coming off of their Week 12 bye, the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in the unenjoyable position of being mathematically alive for the playoffs while likely having little chance of getting there.
At 4-7, the Chargers are two games back of the final Wild Card spot, but their remaining schedule features matchups with the Broncos, Jaguars, Vikings, Raiders and Chiefs. While the first two games are certainly winnable, both are on the road. The FiveThirtyEight prediction model gives L.A. a less than 1% chance of making the postseason.
With that in mind, the questions begin to pop up about next season. One of the biggest facing the team is what to do with starting quarterback Philip Rivers. At 37 years old, soon to be 38, Rivers is in the back half of his career and is currently without a contract for next season. While quarterbacks are certainly playing longer than ever before, it is fair to wonder whether the team would be better off moving on from the veteran.
If they do, would Rivers continue to play? NFL Hall of Famer and Inside the NFL analyst Michael Irvin isn't sure. But he does think it could be time to find a new answer at the position.
"I remember hearing years ago Philip Rivers talking about retiring. And I don't know if he would go and play for another team, or if he would just walk away. I know I heard his wife loves the area that they live in, and she doesn't want to move," said Irvin. "But I do believe it's time for maybe the Chargers to go in a different direction."
That isn't to say that the team's record this season is Rivers' fault. Or that he is having a bad season. He ranks third in passing yards (3,139) and is tied for 14th in passing touchdowns (15). But, his interception number has ticked up to 14, two more than he threw all of last season. That number is concerning. It is a tough call to make, but one that Irvin thinks has to be made because the Chargers find themselves in the worst place to be in the NFL: the middle ground.
"I'm not saying Philip Rivers isn't one of the better quarterbacks in this league, because he has been one of the better quarterbacks in this league. But they've been stuck in some place I call purgatory, someplace between heaven and earth," said Irvin. "They're not horrible, but they're nowhere near great to get in that heavenly Super Bowl. So maybe it's time to go in a different direction."
The upcoming NFL Draft is filled with quarterbacks, and the Chargers have put themselves in position to potentially snag one of those prospects. Their 4-7 record currently gives them the 11th pick in the draft. Another loss to the Broncos Sunday's game would put them further up the board.
The Chargers and Broncos are set for kickoff Sunday at 1:25 p.m. Pacific Time on CBS.
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