Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/10/11

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 20, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
In an AFC matchup between two underachieving 5-7 teams that started the season hot, but hit road bumps along the way, these are the three things to watch for if either team wants to mathematically stay in the playoff race.
 
1. Philip Rivers vs. Bills’ Secondary
Although Philip Rivers ranks seventh in the league in passing yards, he’s thrown a league high 17 interceptions so far this season and goes up against the Bills’ defense that is tied for third in interceptions, with 16 on the year. However, Rivers has now gone two straight games without throwing an interception, and will need to continue that trend if he and the Chargers want to keep any playoff hopes alive. If the Bills can force Rivers into making some mistakes that give their offense the ball, it may be too much for the Chargers to overcome.
 
2. C.J. Spiller vs. Chargers’ Run Defense
The Bills’ rushing attack currently ranks 10th in the NFL, but that’s mainly due to running back Fred Jackson, who has been lost for the season due to injury. Filling in his spot is C.J. Spiller, who last week ran for 83 yards on 14 carries, an impressive 5.9 average yards were carry, and a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans’ 21st ranked run defense. This week, Spiller will get to further showcase his abilities because he goes up against the Chargers’ 26th ranked run defense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said about Spiller, “He’s really shown us something. We’re expecting a lot of big things out of him.” Expect to see the Bills attack the Chargers with the run, rather than the pass, since the Chargers’ defense is sixth in the league in pass defense.
 
3. Norv Turner’s Hot Seat
With the announcement of Norv Turner’s likely firing as head coach of the Chargers at the end of the season, the only way that his job may be saved is if the Chargers win out and make it to the postseason. Will this inspire the team to rally for their coach? This is what Rivers had to say about the ordeal, “I hope no one plays any harder now than they have been, because then we'd have been cheating ourselves. But we hear the talk. And I'll bet you this: There's not one guy in that locker room who wouldn't tell you he loves playing for Norv.” Well if they love playing for their coach that much, then maybe they will play harder, win out, and hope they make it to the playoffs. If not, it’s likely curtains for Turner at the end of the year. 
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