After finishing the 2017 season with a 9-7 record, expectations are high for the Chargers heading into the new campaign.
Los Angeles’ 0-4 start last season was followed up by a stretch of nine wins in the last 12 games, and that has led many pundits to believe this squad could break the 9-win threshold that has haunted the team for years.
Will Brinson of CBS Sports said in a June. 22 article that the combination of a healthy offense surrounding quarterback Philip Rivers and a well-balanced operation on defense could lead to a double-digit win total.
“If Rivers is healthy and doesn’t lose all his weapons before the season starts and gets protected, this should be something resembling a seven-win team. Mix in a stout defense — assuming no major regression or injuries — and it’s easy to see how the Chargers could pile up some wins in a hurry” –Will Brinson, CBS Sports
The loss of tight end Hunter Henry to an ACL injury is significant, but there is still no shortage of talent at Rivers’ disposal. Moreover, if the Bolts linebacking corps can play at a consistently strong level in the run game, the Chargers’ defense will be one of the most well-rounded in the NFL.
However, there will be no shortage of challengers coming L.A.’s way. An AFC West boasting the Kansas City Chiefs’ explosive offense, a healthy Derek Carr at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders and a Denver Broncos defense still featuring Von Miller and Co. will pose some strenuous tests for the team.
But even looking outside their own division, the Chargers will stumble upon some formidable opponents, including a pair of highly-discussed Super Bowl contenders.
With all that said, here are the thre most difficult matchups the Bolts will face in 2018.