Brandon Staley, Chargers will not see the scoreboard Sunday morning – Press Enterprise

INGLEWOOD – The way the NFL scheduled games in Week 17 could provide extra motivation for the Chargers before meeting the Denver Broncos at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

But Chargers coach Brandon Staley does not want to know about the possible extra incentives and sees no benefit in keeping track of what happened in the early games on Sunday.

The Chargers are in ninth place in the AFC, two places behind the Miami Dolphins, who currently own the seventh and final playoff spot in the conference. The Chargers, Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens – the eighth team – all have 8-7 records.

The Indianapolis Colts, the fifth team, and the New England Patriots, the sixth team, are a game ahead of the three aforementioned teams by 9-6 records and control the other two wild-card slots.

All four teams ahead of the Chargers are scheduled for Sunday at. 10 Pacific Time kickoffs. The Ravens are hosting the Rams, the Dolphins are away against the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots are hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Colts are at home against the Las Vegas Raiders, who are number 10 with a record of 8-7.

It’s possible the Chargers could know before meeting the Broncos that a win would regain them a playoff spot if the Ravens and Dolphins lose – both betting underdogs in their respective matchups.

But Staley will not know, and he will not allow his players to look at the scoreboard.

“If you look at anyone else, then you will be beaten by the team that is right in front of you,” Staley said. “That’s what the NFL’s shield represents; make sure you respect the game. That’s what we need to do.”

The Chargers have lost games that can be won, on their way to losing control of their own playoff fate, though Staley would strongly disagree with the idea that the Chargers overlooked the Houston Texans last week.

For another explanation, Texans coach David Culley had his players better prepared than Staley did in the 41-29 boring loss to the Chargers. Staley may agree with that view because he refused to blame the 14 inactive players, including seven starters he did not have available in Houston for COVID-related reasons.

Now the Chargers are on the other side of the COVID-19 dilemma, with most of their top players returning this week, and the Broncos have lost many of theirs due to a recent outbreak. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and pass rusher Bradley Chubb are among the many Broncos expected to be suspended Sunday due to COVID-19.

But Staley probably does not care who is going to be missing for the Broncos, because that will not change the way he looks at them.

“Denver is an excellent team,” Staley said. “They are extremely well-trained and they have a ton of really, really good players. They beat us the first time. They have our full attention.”

Broncos coach Vic Fangio gave Staley his NFL start when he hired Staley to be his outside linebackers coach at the Chicago Bears in 2017 and 2018. Staley followed Fangio to Denver for the same position in 2019.

Staley gives Fangio plenty of credit for his rapid rise in the NFL, from being the Rams ‘defensive coordinator in 2020 to becoming the Chargers’ head coach.

But now Fangio stands in the way of Staley potentially leading the Chargers to the off-season in his first season. The mentor got the best of the mentee in the first meeting when Fangio’s strong Broncos’ defense frustrated quarterback Justin Herbert for two expensive interceptions.

“It was one of those tough games that we felt we could have played better,” Herbert said of the Broncos. “They hit us. Unfortunately we did not move the ball as well as we could have done. I turned the ball too many times. It is up to us to correct.”

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