Jay Paris: Streaking Chargers enter telling stretch of surprising season

Chargers coach Mike McCoy won’t bite and we’re not surprised.

He’s not talking Super Bowl, no matter how well the surging Chargers are playing.

They take two things into Sunday’s shindig with the Kansas City Chiefs: a five-game winning streak and a month’s full of fun football.

But remember the Chargers’ season started in Arizona, where Super Bowl XLIX will rise.

That’s also where the Chargers last fell.

Since it’s been wines and roses  — OK, there’s not many roses in Oakland, but a win’s a win.

And a return trip to Arizona in February is no longer snickered at.

The Chargers (5-1) rest atop the AFC and numerous NFL ranking polls. No team has a better record. Even the TV talking heads and national media are noticing with quarterback Philip Rivers humming along at an MVP-level.

Just maybe the Chargers celebrate the 20th anniversary of their only Super Bowl season in the most appropriate way.

So we wondered? Did the coy McCoy mention a postseason desert trek when settling in Arizona in September?

McCoy, of course, is foreign to revealing chatter among his players. His default button is always about that day’s practice or the upcoming game.

That’s OK, as it’s working.

But it’s clear the Chargers have a Super Bowl shot, with the season entering a compelling stretch.

The Chargers are excelling — thank you No. 17 — and executing. They’re also feasting on the NFL’s low hanging fruit.

Numbers don’t lie and the last three Chargers conquests are against teams with a combined 1-16 record. All three served up rookie or second-year starting quarterbacks.

That’s not the Chargers’ fault and we didn’t forget about them knocking off the Seahawks.

“The only important thing is winning,” McCoy said. “It’s not always perfect.”

But it’s going to be revealing to see what’s next.

The Chiefs have lost six straight in Qualcomm Stadium, but nearly beat the Chargers here last year with their JV team. The Chargers will get their best, with the Chiefs (2-3) desperate to remain a factor in the AFC West and coming off a bye.

Plus their coach, Andy Reid, is 13-2 in post-bye games.

The Chargers have to defend a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith and he’s just the first in line. Denver’s Peyton Manning awaits, in the Chargers’ third outing against an AFC West foe in 11 days.

They aced the first test in Oakland, although the Black Hole visit brought with it a red flag.

The Chargers’ pass rush vanished, not recording a sack or quarterback hit.

Giving the Raiders’ Derek Carr that much time is one thing. Doing so against Smith and/or Manning and that Chargers wine turns to flat beer and those roses to crabgrass.

Linebacker Dwight Freeney has a team-high two sacks, with the last one coming at Buffalo in Week 3. Freeney needs some help and maybe he gets it with Jerry Attaochu and Cordarro Law returning to the mix.

Never heard of Law? Probably didn’t know much of youngsters like running back Branden Oliver or offensive lineman Chris Watt, either.

The infusion of unlikely contributors is why the Chargers’ train hasn’t derailed. The team had its injuries — like everyone else — but kept the crutches to the trainer’s room.

“There are no excuses,” McCoy said.

It’s a refreshing approach and just maybe the Chargers are healthier when reaching Denver. Four days after the Chiefs, it’s the showdown with the Broncos and all that goes with it.

If the Chargers prevail in the next two games, their view from the AFC West penthouse will be keen. If they squint, it’ll seem Arizona is that much closer.

Contact Jay Paris at jparis8@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports

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