ESPN’s NFL Nation all in on Chargers
By Matt Pagels
ESPN is really digging the Los Angeles Chargers.
ESPN’s NFL Nation, which consists of a handful of writers for each division in football, made predictions for 2018. They predicted which team will win their respective division, as well as who will be the MVP in those divisions.
For the AFC West, it’s the Chargers coming out on top and quarterback Philip Rivers being the MVP. Here is their analysis:
“The Chargers are the pick to win the division. They have a potential Hall of Fame QB in Philip Rivers, who only seems to be getting better with age, the top-ranked passing game in the NFL, an upgraded offensive line with center Mike Pouncey and the division’s best one-two pass-rushing punch, Joey Bosa (23.0 combined sacks the past two seasons) and Melvin Ingram(18.5 combined sacks).”
The hype is real. We’ve been talking about this since the offseason. They were already a talented team that got stronger after free agency and the draft. They have stars on both sides of the ball, didn’t lose any top players in free agency, fixed their the top weakness on offense by signing center Mike Pouncey and continued to fortify their defense by selecting four defenders, including stealing Florida State safety Derwin James with the No. 17 overall pick, with their first four picks in this year’s draft. Like last year’s draft, every pick has a chance to make contribute right away. Not only that, but they will be getting back players like Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett and hopeful starters like Mike Williams and Forrest Lamp.
Yeah, the Chargers look good on paper. Honestly, this is the best roster I’ve seen in very long time. And the coaching staff led by Anthony Lynn is solid, too.
But the thing is, the Chargers haven’t won the division since 2009. They also haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. They are coming off a 9-7 campaign and would have made the playoffs if their kicking game didn’t suck (which included starting 0-4), but shoulda, coulda, woulda.
They need to get past the Kansas Chiefs, who have been AFC West champs the last two years and made the playoffs the last four of five years. The Chargers have lost eight straight against the Chiefs dating back to 2014.
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders aren’t jokes either. It’ll be interesting to see if Rivers and the Chargers can finally get over the hump and make a huge run.
Personally, I think they have it in them.