This time of the week I’m typically putting the finishing touches on a ‘spoiler’ article full of predictions. However, with so much on the line this week it seems increasingly important to deliver a hopeful message to Bolts’ fans everywhere.
Heading into week 16 the Chargers are on the road in freezing conditions against a beat up New York Jets squad. It seems like an easy enough win.
Not to mention, a Buffalo Bills’ loss to the Patriots, and the Tennessee Titans losing their next two against the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t unimaginable.
Nevertheless, one slip up and LA’s playoff chances are shattered into a million pieces.
A rebound from 0-4 to 7-7 could quickly vanish.
Except even a loss to the Jets doesn’t mean the season just crumbles. Chargers’ fans have witnessed promise this season.
Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Denzel Perryman and Casey Hayward are the foundation of this young defense. Let’s not forget the Bolts’ defense is performing out of its mind for a group under a new defensive coordinator.
Jason Verrett will likely be back to compete with a handful of defensive backs who have proved themselves thus far.
Granted, the run defense needs some help. That’s where a top-20 pick comes in if the Chargers fail to capture a playoff berth.
On the other side of the ball, it was seemingly a roller coaster ride of emotions. Despite decent numbers, Melvin Gordon never really seemed to hit his stride.
The return of Forrest Lamp could bring some toughness to the interior of the offensive line.
Outside the numbers is a deep group of wide outs in Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Mike Williams.
Mike did battle injuries this season, but that’s no reason to fret – just look at what he did at Clemson University.
Antonio Gates could call it a career and he should. It’s officially the Hunter Henry era for the Chargers and Gates can get comfy before his first-ballot Hall of Fame speech.
Then you have the quarterback situation. Philip Rivers will enter another season as the Chargers’ quarterback pegged as the go-to-guy.
However, it’s time for the next gunslinger to be added to the roster. The upcoming draft is plentiful with talent.
Guys like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and others are bound to be top-10 picks and LA will need to trade up to snag one of them. Even so, odds are a rookie quarterback would sit till Rivers retires.
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If you have any doubt, just look at the mess that occurred when Eli Manning was unseated as the starting quarterback for the Giants – all hell broke loss.
Unfortunately for LA fans, the answer to all of the issues seems to come on special teams. Maybe in a world ruled by Madden general managers, the Bolts would trade for a consistent kicker.
Yes, it seems like every year the Chargers are dealt an ugly hand of cards. Last year it was injuries. This year it was a horrific special teams’ group. What will it be next year?
In 2018 it won’t be either of those things. This is officially a team that can compete.
Saddle up a future quarterback and have field goal tryouts where the whole city is welcome and this franchise will be standing high on its hind legs.
The Chargers could lose Sunday, or the Bills and Titans could both win, snapping any hope of a playoff berth for LA. Nonetheless, Chargers’ fans won’t have to wait much longer for their turn, it’s coming, and it’s coming soon.