With another football season ahead of us and teams making their way through the preseason, let’s predict the W’s and L’s for the 2017 Los Angeles Chargers season.
The Chargers’ last two seasons have been somewhat tumultuous. They’ve lost games in absolutely heartbreaking ways that made you shut the TV off and go to bed with a less than pleasant disposition.
The primary reasons for the Chargers’ struggles have been injuries in previous seasons, as well as mismanaged drives in the fourth quarter. While it’s still early, I think the Chargers may be on the way up in 2017 with a new coaching staff brought in by coach Anthony Lynn, including many players returning from non-contact injuries.
There’s always challenges in trying to project the W’s and L’s in the season in August. I don’t know who will be injured or how the offense or defense will look midway through the season. But let’s give it the old college try.
Week 1: LA Chargers @ Denver Broncos
While the Chargers have struggled in divisional games over the past few years, they’ve always stayed competitive with the Broncos. I think the Broncos have a lot of question marks at QB that make this game pretty even, considering they have home-field advantage. I think the teams go on to split the season series, similar to last season; but with it being a night game where the Chargers played one of their best games of the season last year, I’ll give them the W.
Week 2: Miami Dolphins @ LA Chargers
I give the Chargers this game as well. I think the Miami Dolphins will struggle this season while having to play a conservative offense with newly-installed Jay Cutler leading the offense. If you look at how Cutler played with Adam Gase vs. how Ryan Tannehill played last season, you’ll find that Cutler’s success is predicated on not turning the ball over, which means short throws and a ground-and-pound style of offense. I think the Chargers can stop Cutler pretty easily, especially considering it’s an early season game when Cutler is still getting acclimated to the team.
Week 3: KC Chiefs @ LA Chargers
I think the Chargers also split with the Chiefs, unlike last season. I’ll give them a loss here, but likely because I’m still horrified by last year’s season opener when the Chargers found a way to lose after being up 24-3. In all seriousness, the games with the Chiefs are always pretty close, even if we’ve gotten the worst of it the last few years. The Chiefs also lost DT Dontari Poe, who I think was a key defensive piece for them.
Week 4: Philadelphia Eagles @ LA Chargers
I’ll give the Chargers the W here. I think Carson Wentz is still developing as a young QB, and the Eagles receiving corps is in flux now after dealing Jordan Matthews (despite adding the talented but oft-injured Alshon Jeffery in free agency). I also think LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles are getting up there in age, and that hurts me as someone who loves Sproles. We all do.
Week 5: LA Chargers @ NY Giants
Teams on the West Coast don’t tend to travel well to the East Coast. With how great the Giants’ defense has gotten recently, along with the breakout of offensive superstar Odell Beckham Jr., I see the Chargers losing this one in a close game. This does have a toss-up feel to me, though.
Week 6: LA Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
The Chargers have struggled in the Oakland Coliseum in recent years, infamous for “The Black Hole.” I think the Raiders are out for revenge after their (and it hurts me to say this) great team was robbed of having a shot in the playoffs following the injury to Derek Carr. Factor in a team that’s added Marshawn Lynch to its already dynamic offense, I’d pencil this one in as a loss.
Week 7: Denver Broncos @ LA Chargers
As I said earlier, I think the Chargers split the series against the Broncos just like last year, so I’ll pencil this in as another L.
Week 8: LA Chargers @ New England Patriots
Brady. Belichick. Foxborough. Enough Said.
Well, we can’t lose this one.
Week 10: LA Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
For a number of years in the regular season now, the Chargers have had the Jaguars’ number, including a dominant 38-14 win last season. As long as an inconsistent Blake Bortles is still the QB and there are questions on the offensive line, I’ll keep giving the Chargers this one.
Week 11: Buffalo Bills @ LA Chargers
I think the Bills are actually a team that does have some promise for the future, and I like the wheeling and dealing they’ve been doing recently with the Rams and Eagles. But because of their incredibly weak passing game, making them a one-dimensional team (ranked 30th in passing offense in 2016), and a very average defense, I’ll give the Chargers the W here.
Week 12: LA Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving)
This is my most anticipated game of the year. I’ve never seen the Chargers play a Thanksgiving game in my life, so I’m incredibly excited to see how this goes. And we’re busting out the Powder Blues on the road! I see this game being a tight one, but with Ezekiel Elliott coming back into the fold by this time of the year following his suspension, I’ll give a close one to Dallas.
Week 13: Cleveland Browns @ LA Chargers
Man, I just gotta say it: I love those color rush blues so much. The Chargers will be wearing them against the Browns, in what I can only assume is a revenge game of the highest proportions following the Browns’ only win of the 2016 season embarrassingly coming against the Chargers. I still have the missed Josh Lambo kick ingrained in my mind. Chargers win this one for revenge. I’m calling for a blowout.
Week 14: Washington Redskins @ LA Chargers
I have the Chargers winning this one as well, finally climbing back over the Mendoza Line. While I like Washington’s team overall, especially Kirk Cousins, they had a terribly inconsistent and inefficient offense last year. They also lost one of Cousins’ favorite targets, DeSean Jackson, something that will definitely affect the offense this year.
Week 15: LA Chargers @ KC Chiefs
I think the Chargers split with the Chiefs this year after being swept last year. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I think the Chiefs will be a little weaker on defense this year, and I think they’re incredibly conservative offensive game will hurt them if the defense is not as good. The loss of RB Jamaal Charles and Poe will affect them this year to some extent as well.
Week 16: LA Chargers @ NY Jets
Hackenberg? Petty? McCown? Yeah, I don’t see this being a terribly close contest.
Week 17: Oakland Raiders @ LA Chargers
This is going to be an interesting game in my opinion. Based on the Chargers’ record at this point, it looks like they are in the wild card hunt. Since I think the Raiders will be a top 1 or 2 seed in the AFC next year, I honestly don’t see them having a lot to play for. But will they want to play spoiler to the rival Chargers? I consider this a real toss-up game. Home-field advantage doesn’t mean a ton either, considering both are from California. I’ll give this one to the Raiders, since the Chargers haven’t played them super well in recent years. But I can see it going both ways.
Final Record: 9-7 (or 10-6, I’m fairly unsure)
Overall, if the Chargers have some better play calling in the fourth quarter under Lynn, I think they’ll have a better year than fans expect. I don’t think this team is nearly as bad as they’ve been in recent years with shoddy coaching from Mike McCoy and terrible injuries. I see the Chargers on the up this year, and I’m excited to see what the team can do.
Just please God, no major injuries. NO MAJOR INJURIES.