Most important game for Chargers in 2017? Of course it's vs. Chiefs

Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Analytics projects every NFL team’s most important 2017 game. For the Los Angeles Chargers, that contest comes in Week 15 against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.

And that makes some sense. The last time the Chargers were in playoff contention was the 2014 season, when all they needed to do to reach the postseason was win on the road at Arrowhead Stadium against a Kanas City team led by backup quarterback Chase Daniel.

The Chargers lost 19-7.

The year before, the Chargers needed a miraculous, come-from-behind overtime victory over the Chiefs in the final game of the regular season to reach the playoffs, a 27-24 win. The Chargers went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC wild-card game before falling to the Denver Broncos in an AFC divisional contest a week later.

My take: The Chargers are ranked 22nd in ESPN’s Football Power Index and given a 19.6 percent chance to reach the postseason. Head coach Anthony Lynn would be pleased to still be in playoff contention by Week 15.

Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was interviewed by ESPN 710 Los Angeles. Hayward talked about his Pro Bowl performance from a year ago, which led to his No. 64 spot on this year’s NFL Network ranking of the top 100 players. Hayward led the league in interceptions last season with seven.

“Last year I got to guard the No. 1s a lot,” Hayward said. “So when you guard the No. 1s, you’re going to get targets. I was able to make plays against some of the top guys and hopefully that continues. As long as we can stay healthy, I think we have a chance to be really good.”

My take: With a healthy Jason Verrett returning to the field, the Chargers should have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. Hayward may not have as many opportunities as last season, but the scheme change to more Cover-3 concepts should work in his favor.

Jack Wang of the Orange County Register talks with Dr. Payam Farjoodi, a spine surgeon at the Orange Coast Memorial Center for Spine Health in Fountain Valley, about Chargers receiver Mike Williams’ mild disc herniation.

Farjoodi, who has not examined Williams, said that most similar conditions require four to six weeks of recovery and the Clemson product appears to still be in that timeframe.

“If they’re calling it a mild disc herniation, that makes me think it’s a smaller bulge,” Farjoodi said. “It’d be very, very unlikely for that kind of a problem to require surgery, to be honest.”

My take: The Chargers expect Williams back healthy in time for training camp. Lynn said Williams will remain in Southern California for his rehab work in the time players have off before training camp.

In this interview with The Mighty 1090 AM Radio, Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson says he still supports San Diego through his charity work, even though he works for the Chargers as part of the team’s community outreach program. “I don’t consider myself a sellout,” Tomlinson said. “I’m a part of the Chargers’ organization. The Spanos family drafted me to be a part of their organization. I gave my heart and soul to that organization and to the community. And so I feel like I’m part of both. To me there’s no sellout. I can’t pick one or the other.”

My take: Tomlinson does a nice job of explaining his feelings for both San Diego and the Chargers, and how he balances both. Tomlinson will host a celebrity golf tournament at Sycuan Golf Resort on Thursday and will hold his fourth annual 5K run/walk on Saturday at San Diego’s Liberty Station.