Though they mean nothing officially, NFL power rankings, regardless of who puts them out, are always a source of serious debate. As we approach the beginning of the regular season, the San Diego Chargers are continually finding themselves toward the bottom of the list.
With a 1-1 preseason record, the Chargers come in at No. 27 on the most recent list posted by Gary Davenport and other NFL analysts over at Bleacher Report. The only AFC teams ranked lower than the Chargers are the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
That seems like a slap in the face, but after the Chargers get on the field in the regular season, if they open with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, what is that No. 27 ranking going to mean then? Nothing.
Here is what Davenport had to say in regards to the Chargers.
After getting carved up like a Christmas goose in the preseason opener, the San Diego Chargers defense badly needed a rebound performance.
Not only did it get one, but that performance came against one of the NFL’s top offensive teams last season in the Arizona Cardinals.
After allowing nearly 300 rushing yards to the Tennessee Titans, the Bolts allowed fewer than 70 to the Redbirds. Inside linebacker Manti Te’o told Ricky Henne of the team’s official website it was simply a matter of improving execution.
“The biggest difference for us in the run defense is that everybody was doing their job,” Te’o said. “Everyone trusted each other, and everybody made their play. And they didn’t make it for themselves; they did it because they wanted to make it for their brother. When we stick together as a defense and we play like that, we’re going to do well.”
The Chargers aren’t hurting for offensive talent. This is a team, with quarterback Philip Rivers at the helm, that will score some points.
How well the defense plays will determine how far the Chargers do or don’t go in 2016. And in that regard, its showing against Arizona was a welcome sight.
Not exactly disparaging words. It seems even the folks at Bleacher Report feel the Chargers could be a team on the upswing, as evidenced by their big win over Arizona.
In its most recent power rankings, ESPN shows the Chargers even less respect, putting them at No. 28, though that list was posted prior to the win over the Cardinals. Like Bleacher Report, ESPN sees San Diego as the 14th-best team in the AFC, listing only Cleveland and the Tennessee Titans below them.
It will be interesting to see how these rankings fluctuate throughout the season, but I’d be very interested to see how many of these analysts changed their tune if the Chargers could beat the Chiefs, a team that is widely considered to be a top-10 team in the league, in the opener.