After a disappointing 2016 season, I look ahead to the 2017 schedule to predict wins and losses for the Chargers.
It would be wonderful to be writing about the playoffs right now, with the Chargers in position to take the divisional round. Unfortunately, that is not the case and hasn’t been since 2013, when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round before eventually losing to the Denver Broncos the following week.
So this week I take a look at future opponents in 2017 and try and predict the team’s wins and losses. This does not include free agency, the draft or injuries. I will be guessing based on the current roster, assuming they are all healthy.
*Order is based off home and away opponents
Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
2017 Home Opponents:
Last season, the Chargers beat the Broncos 21-13 at home on a Thursday night. The defense was outstanding, with Jatavis Brown racking up 14 solo tackles, one sack and a key forced fumble. I don’t see Trevor Siemian being able to lead his team to victory this time either, and certainly not with a healthy Jason Verrett.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
Kansas City Chiefs:
This was one of my least favorite games to watch last season. The Chargers committed so many offensive, defensive and special teams blunders that it likely cemented Mike McCoy’s fate (spoiler alert: he’s been fired). Andy Reid consistently has this team ready to roll, and it won’t be any different with the current roster the Chargers are fielding.
Prediction: Loss (1-1)
I like our chances here. For some reason, despite all of the offseason hype this team got, I was never impressed with the Oakland Raiders in 2016. Maybe it’s because their secondary is porous, but I also think Verrett returning will help neutralize their best wideout. With Casey Hayward on the other side and Joey Bosa wreaking havoc, I think the Chargers win here, as long as Drew Kaser isn’t the holder.
Prediction: Win (2-1)
The Bills travel across the country to face the Bolts in a rematch of the latter’s 22-10 victory in Buffalo. I don’t see any improvement in the Bills’ defense, and the trio of Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry will be too much for them to stop.
Prediction: Win (3-1)
Nov 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is defended by Miami Dolphins free safety Michael Thomas. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Here are the last three games against the Miami Dolphins:
2014: L 37-0
2015: W 30-14
2016: L 31-24
This one is a toss up for me, as the Chargers tend to play very well one time but absolutely terrible the other two. I believe a healthy Chargers team can beat the Dolphins, and barring four fourth-quarter interceptions by Philip Rivers, the team should pull out a victory.
Prediction: Win (4-1)
My grandpa and I will be seeing this game together, the first time he’s ever seen his team play live. I almost would pull for the Eagles to win just to see him happy, but I don’t think it happens at home. Too much offense for Carson Wentz to keep up.
Prediction: Win (5-1)
Well, Ken Whisenhunt is currently the OC, as he was in 2013’s 30-24 loss to the Redskins. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to an end-of-game, four-play sequence on the goal line again, as his questionable play calling lost us that game in the end.
Nov 3, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen runs with the ball past Washington Redskins free safety David Amerson. The Redskins defeated the Chargers 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Allen will shred this secondary, and hopefully he doesn’t get called for offensive pass interference for juking the defender out of his shoes again.
Prediction: Win (6-1)
I would, most years, have told you this is an easy win no matter what year, team or coach. The Browns, however, picked up their first (and only) win in 2016 against the Chargers at home. I don’t believe they win this time, as a new coach will no doubt have this team more prepared to win than the previous regime.
Prediction: Win (7-1)