Los Angeles Chargers: 2017 Season by a Pessimist


The Los Angeles Chargers have quietly built a very solid roster and will look to markedly improve on their record over the last two years. An around .500 or even better record seems to be a foregone expectation for a lot of people. Many say this team even possesses enough firepower to make a playoff run. While that is definitely the goal and not out of the realm of possibility, it feels we’ve been saying the same thing about this team for a decade.

It was the preseason after the Chargers had just beaten the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the playoffs and gone on to lose to the Denver Broncos. An article I stumbled upon picked the Chargers to make the Super Bowl and play the Green Bay Packers, if memory serves. Four years later, the Chargers are treading water still. They have had lackluster seasons in between, but seem poised to bounce back. Unfortunately, every year we say this team will put it together, not have devastating injuries and be consistent, we get let down. Is this season going to be any different? As much as it pains me to say it, it might not be. Let’s take a look at the answer to “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Week 1 @ Broncos

The Broncos have an intimidating defense that could wreak havoc over this offensive line. Although it has improved this offseason, there’s no guarantee Russell Okung will be any better in Los Angeles than he was in Denver. The Chargers offense could be slowed, meaning the young defense will have to be on the field too long. Long enough that the Broncos offense can chew clock and move the ball. Loss, 20-14 (0-1)

Week 2 vs Dolphins

Miami was a playoff team last season and by all accounts, haven’t gotten any worse. The team will have another full offseason under their belt with Adam Gase and this will be the Chargers first game in StubHub. Ryan Tannehill, Jay Ajayi, and Jarvis Landry are too much and the Dolphins D thrives in the soccer stadium. Loss, 35-24 (0-2)

Week 3 vs Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t lost to the Chargers since Ryan Succop missed two field goals to put the Chargers in the playoffs in 2013. Alex Smith may be on the decline, but the defense is still very good and the offense will be good enough. The Chargers always lose in a big way to Kansas City at least once a year. Loss, 35-17 (0-3)

Week 4 vs Eagles

The Eagles improved a lot this offseason and are a dark horse to win the NFC East. That said, their defensive backs can’t hang with the Chargers receiving corps, which is one of the best in the league. Philip Rivers will eat them up. This could be a rare case of the pass opening up the run. The Bolts look to secure their first home win outside of San Diego since 1960. Win, 31-21 (1-3)

Week 5 @ Giants

This will be advertised as a battle between Manning and Rivers, who have an interesting history stemming back to the 2004 NFL Draft. These teams are very comparable to each other. The main difference: luck. The Giants have always had it and the Chargers haven’t. Loss, 24-21 (1-4)

Week 6 @ Raiders

Derek Carr is an MVP candidate, Amari Cooper is a stud, Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and they added Beast Mode. The Chargers have enough talent to match up with them, just maybe not for a full 60 minutes. The Raiders defense isn’t as strong, but their offense is one of the best. In the end, it comes down to Carr and Rivers. It just depends which true gunslinger you’re going to put your money on. Loss, 31-27 (1-5)

Week 7 vs Broncos

At this point, I don’t expect the Broncos to have a great record either. Both teams will be deflated. The crowd of 30,000 and the motivation of Anthony Lynn will be the difference maker between these two disappointing squads. Rivers will work his magic a la last year against the Broncos in that Thursday Night Football matchup. Win, 24-16 (2-5)

Week 8 @ Patriots

In my look at the Chargers’ season from an optimist, this is where the Bolts first felt the sting of defeat. If everything is going their way and they lose, this one won’t be different when the tables are turned. Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck might have the best team they’ve had. And that is truly saying something. Loss, 41-21 (2-6)

Week 9 – BYE

At this point in the season, the Chargers are very much on the outside looking in and should look to play a lot of their younger players. There will still be competitiveness, as what else can you expect from Rivers, Antonio Gates and Lynn. Not all hope is lost, but a postseason berth seems like a reach at this point.

Week 10 @ Jaguars

The Jaguars have been the dark horse team for a few years. Will they finally put it all together? Coming off a bye and a deflating 20-point loss, coach Lynn won’t let the Bolts go down without a fight. And if it becomes a “no-holds-barred” contest, the Chargers simply have more talent to get the job done in Jacksonville. Win, 35-31 (3-6)

Week 11 vs Bills

I expect the Buffalo Bills to be better than advertised. The Chargers have always had trouble containing fast, mobile QBs, and Tyrod Taylor is among the best in the business at moving the ball with his feet. The Bills finally have a serious coach and some serious talent. They don’t seem like a team to be bothered by a 30,000 person stadium. Loss, 27-24 (3-7)

Week 12 @ Cowboys (Thanksgiving)

I fully believe this game will be a classic. There are so many similarities between these two teams. Ultimately, the Chargers defense is more talented, but the ‘Boys have that running back and his offensive line. The Chargers have a more talented signal-caller, but he also takes more risks, which could hurt the Bolts. But, the Chargers usually win a game they have no business winning, whether they are having a good year or not. So I say it’s going to be this one. Win, 34-28 (4-7)

Week 13 vs Browns

Is DeShone Kizer the answer to Cleveland’s perpetual QB problem? At this point in the season, we may already know. The Browns only win last year came against this team. They aren’t as bad as many think. But, the new coach and additional talent will make sure it won’t happen again. At least, that’s what the plan is. Win, 24-20 (5-7)

Week 14 vs Redskins

At this point, all eyes could be on Kirk Cousins and where his next landing spot could be. If that’s the focus and this season is already a lost cause, the Chargers can more than capably take down the ‘Skins. But, there is a reason Cousins is such a talking point. He’s very talented, and if Washington is having a down year, he’s playing for a big contract. Loss, 31-28 (5-8)

Week 15 @ Chiefs

The Chiefs are still fighting the Raiders for a division title. The Chargers are out of the hunt, but will look to play spoiler. Unfortunately, that’s not something that often happens to Andy Reid-coached teams. Melvin Gordon has his best day of the season, but it isn’t enough to silence the fans of Arrowhead and gift Oakland the division. Loss, 28-27 (5-9)

Week 16 @ Jets

With a losing season secured, do the Chargers tank to nab a higher draft pick? If they lose to the New York Jets, who will be hanging around the 0-4 win range, that can only help the cause to “Fold for Darnold” or someone else. Except, I don’t think Lynn is that kind of coach. I expect the defense to have its way with the Jets’ offense (if you can call it that) and Gates doesn’t want to go out like this. He caps his penultimate game with two touchdowns. Win, 33-10 (6-9)

Week 17 vs Raiders

The Raiders are probably the Chargers biggest rivals. Rivers would love to poke a hole in the Raiders season. At this point though, the Raiders may have already clinched the AFC West. In that case, they could be looking to secure a bye or even home field advantage. This will be a shootout and Oakland will struggle early on in StubHub. But they simply have more to fight for and will put it all on the line. Loss, 31-23 (6-10)

More from Bolt Beat

The newly-minted Los Angeles Chargers underwhelm and finish the season with only six wins and another bevy of disappointing losses. The team once again becomes another “what-if” team the Bolts are so famous for. A few of the games show their talent and what can happen when it comes together. Other games make them look like fodder and show the difference between a true championship-caliber team and the wannabe’s. While 6-10 doesn’t feel like a complete loss, this is with the idea that everyone stays healthy and able to play. It could be much worse if someone like Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Gordon, Jason Verrett or Rivers (please, no) go down with an injury.

While this team has gotten a lot of praise and chatter this offseason, they still need to prove that they can play with the big boys. If they can, then this article renders itself moot. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see them do that in any season they are contenders, so why is a season when they are a dark horse and not guaranteed to not place last in their division any different? This is a personal challenge to the Bolts. Gordon, if you really want to deliver for Gates and Rivers, let’s see it. L.A. magic is a real thing in sports, right? The bad luck ends? We can only hope I guess.

Otherwise, it will end up like this.