Despite a down season, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. At 25 years old, the Oregon product likely hasn't hit his prime yet, which makes the team's decision to sit him out for the season a wise, if difficult, one.

Although the Chargers (5-8) are technically still alive in the Photo from the AFC playoffsrealistically they have no chance, especially without Herbert in midfield. The ESPN Football Power Index gives head coach Brandon Staley's club just a 0.6% chance of making the postseason, better than just four teams in the conference.

Los Angeles has lost four of its last five contests, and after a victorious Week 15 battle against the Las Vegas Raiders (5-8), the team faces a difficult task on the upcoming “Thursday Night Football” three-match episode to close the campaign. The Chargers will host the Buffalo Bills (7-6) in Week 16, face the red-hot Denver Broncos (7-6) in Week 17 and close out the regular season with a Week 18 home battle against the Kansas City Chiefs (8- 6). 5). Los Angeles lost to the Chiefs 31-17 on the road in Week 7 and was crushed by the Broncos 24-7 at home on Sunday.

Kansas City is fighting to maintain its spot at the top of the AFC West, while Buffalo and Denver are on the fringes for the playoffs, so all three teams should play with extra motivation.

With the Chargers all but gone, there would be no reason to push Herbert out with an injury and risk further damage. Playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league in recent seasons, Herbert has already suffered a broken rib cartilage and a broken left middle finger.

The organization made a long-term commitment to the one-time Pro Bowler, signing him to a five-year contract extension in July. Now they're making a smart move by trying to make sure he's healthy and ready to go in 2024.



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