The 2021 NFL season is flying by.
Therefore, this is the time when teams start to make a stronger push in hopes of claiming a postseason spot.
Some NFL teams have the luxury of being several games in front of their division rivals.
That does not mean, though, that they must take their foot off the gas pedal.
However, some franchises are already facing must-win situations as early as Week 9.
Winning their matchups this week will keep their playoff hopes alive.
Otherwise, they will be facing an uphill climb to extend their season beyond 17 games.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert looked human during their last two games after throwing for nearly 400 yards against the Cleveland Browns.
Unfortunately, both games ended in bitter defeat for the Chargers.
He only had 195 yards versus the Baltimore Ravens and 223 against the New England Patriots.
Mike Williams’ production also dropped after the Cleveland game with a combined 46 receiving yards and zero touchdowns during their two-game losing streak.
Mike Williams either goes for 180 with 2 TD’s or 1 catch for 5 yards. Never in-between.
— al (@wadzillaxxx) October 31, 2021
The Chargers will face the Philadelphia Eagles, brimming with confidence after their dominating win over the Detroit Lions.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni finally embraced his team’s lethal running game, and they can keep pounding the ground against Los Angeles.
Brandon Staley’s team must clinch their fifth victory in eight games to stay in contention for the AFC West division title.
Another loss will drop them to 4-4 while the Kansas City Chiefs have a chance to claim second place against an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers.
— Fernando Ramirez (@RealFRamirez) November 4, 2021
After the Eagles, the Chargers will still have a tough road ahead.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, the Denver Broncos twice, and division leaders Las Vegas Raiders remain on their schedule.
Meanwhile, winning their game against Philadelphia puts the Chargers at a better spot with a 5-3 record.
1. Cleveland Browns
One year later and the Browns are back at the bottom of the AFC North.
Experts say that Beckham was never a good fit in Cleveland’s run-first offense.
Therefore, the Browns should play better after the wideout’s release.
.@LRiddickESPN goes OFF on the way that Odell Beckham has handled things with the Browns at the trade deadline 😳
"This is professional sports, man. It's professional freakin' sports!" pic.twitter.com/s26CDbLPbB
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) November 4, 2021
However, that’s not a guarantee because they will be facing a Bengals team that hopes to bounce back after their surprising defeat against the New York Jets.
This game will be their first of two meetings, and both games will have significant NFL playoff implications.
A win by the Browns ties them with the Bengals at 5-4, while a defeat creates a wider gap between them and third-place Pittsburgh.
The Browns will face the Steelers again in Week 16, after games against the Patriots, the Raiders, the Packers, and the Baltimore Ravens twice.
That said, Week 9 must be the game wherein the Browns rediscover the formula that brought them to the playoffs last season.
that's it…that's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/ane3lbjhtD
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 4, 2021
They must re-establish their run game with Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson.
Cleveland cannot afford slip-ups in their final nine regular-season games because their division rivals are all playing good football.
One defeat could settle their elimination from the 2021 postseason.