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NFL Power Rankings Week 11: San Diego Chargers Headed for Collision with Reeling Miami Dolphins

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COMMENTARY | We all knew that loss to the Denver Broncos was going to happen. Sure, there were some fans that thought the San Diego Chargers had a chance against the best team in the league, but those fans had also been consuming more alcohol than is medically safe.

The Chargers are now 4-5 and their playoff dreams are slipping away as reality starts to sink in. Their matchup this week against the Miami Dolphins will most likely serve as the final nail in the coffin of this season.

Fortunately for the Chargers, they've got a shot this weekend at temporary stay of execution. The Dolphins are a mess. They have one of the bottom five offenses in the league and even the Chargers bottom five defense should have their first easy week since the Jacksonville Jaguars game.

The Dolphins are also caught up in one of the most blown-out-of-proportions off-field dramas I've ever seen. The Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin ruckus continues to make headlines. They're both wrong and they're both right. Now get back to playing football.

If we're looking for football players to be more stable and more compassionate, then maybe we shouldn't be sending them out to smash their heads together for three hours a week.

It has clearly distracted this Miami team that found a way to lose to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers that would have made the 0-14 1976 Bucs and their quarterback Steve Spurrier proud.

Here is a look at the Chargers in some of this week's NFL power rankings.

Yahoo -- Frank Schwab -- No. 13 (Last week: No. 14)

"We can mark San Diego at Miami this week as an elimination game. The loser isn't going to be playing in January."

Also, the winner isn't going to be playing in January. If the Chargers hadn't been beaten by the Washington Redskins and the Dolphins hadn't been neaten by themselves, then this game might have meant something.

CBSSports.com -- Pete Prisco -- No. 18 (Last week: No. 17)

"After losing to the Broncos, the Chargers have another East Coast trip. The schedule maker hasn't been kind."

Now hold on. Before we start taking shots at Gary the NFL Schedule Maker, let's also remember that he's the one gave the Chargers only two teams with winning records in their first ten games.

Also, is a five-hour flight to Miami so much harder than a three-hour flight to Seattle? Unless teams are traveling by rat-infested steamships, this shouldn't really be a factor.

Fox Sports -- Brian Billick -- No. 16 (Last week: No. 15)

"The Chargers lost their straight second game and their five losses this season have come by a combined total of just 30 points."

It's definitely a testament to this Chargers offense that their games have been so close. They really could be 7-2 heading into Miami. Sometimes it's coming up short and sometimes it's just not enough lucky breaks in a game.

But let's also remember that they only lost by eight to the Broncos because Denver took their foot off the gas pedal when they were up 28-6.

NFL.com -- Elliot Harrison -- No. 14 (Last week: No. 13)

"Figured Sunday's AFC West tilt at Qualcomm would involve a bit more scoring than it did. Still, despite the loss, Chargers fans should be encouraged. This team can compete with anybody and, at 4-5, is still very much in the thick of the AFC wild-card race, in a dogfight with the Jets, Ravens, Titans and Dolphins. The thinking here is that San Diego is better than all but -- maybe -- the Jets, though Mike McCoy's group must at least split with Kansas City and take winnable games at home versus the Giants and Raiders."

I guess this is just one of those years where the wild-card race is really just about the least worst of a bunch of terrible teams. Whether the Chargers are better or not is debatable, but if you are a San Diego fan and you still have some hope for the rest of the season, whatever you do, do not look at the New York Jets remaining schedule.

ESPN.com -- No. 17 (Last week: No. 15)

"Another Denver game, another Denver loss. San Diego has lost four straight to the Broncos, its longest streak against Denver since losing five straight in 1997-99."

Four straight? Is that all? That's not bad. But it's going to get worse. You have to figure that as long as Peyton Manning is behind center for the Broncos and the Chargers defense is the Chargers defense it's going to be tough to pull out any wins.

The Chargers have a really good shot at winning this weekend against a reeling Dolphins team, but my guess is they once again find a way to come up short.

Fans can be comforted knowing that every loss pushes them further and further up the big board on draft day 2014.

Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a sportswriter. You can find him on Twitter @JedRigney.

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