The Los Angeles Chargers have a chance to do big things in 2018. Will they seize the opportunity, or will we be let down once more?
Every fan of every team is thinking one thing: Super Bowl.
Your team might not be considered contenders, but you still want to believe they can finish with a good record and make a deep playoff run. Whether you’re perceived as delusional or not (most likely the former), that’s what fans do.
However, if your team belongs in the AFC, the chance of actually making it to the Super Bowl has been small. Why’s that? Because if your team’s quarterback isn’t Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning, then all hope has been lost.
Dating back to the 2003 season, Brady (Patriots), Roethlisberger (Steelers) and Manning (Colts/Broncos) have been the starting quarterback in every Super Bowl except one. The only other quarterback to make the Super Bowl was the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco in 2012.
Pathetic. And then you start to ask yourself, “Why bother watching when I know what is going to happen?”
So will this season be any different? I think it will be. The AFC is inferior to the NFC. There’s no dominant team anymore. Brady and the Patriots remain at the top, but they’re not the powerhouse we’re used to seeing. And the Steelers? Well, they are dealing with a Le’Veon Bell issue. The Jacksonville Jaguars have arguably the best defense in the league, but that Blake Bortles-led offense is sketchy.
Those three teams are the top favorites to win the AFC. You know who is right behind them? The Chargers. That’s right, the Chargers look so good on paper that nearly every analyst has them winning the AFC West and making some noise in the playoffs.
As much as I like that they are being favored, what have they really done to warrant that kind of respect? They haven’t won their own division since 2009, including losing eight straight to the back-to-back division champion Kansas Chiefs. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. They have dealt with more injuries than every other team in the league. And they can’t finish games.
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But this is the year the Chargers overachieve. They have a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense. They have a very good coaching staff in place. They did what they needed to do in free agency by not losing anY key players and signing Mike Pouncey. They also came away with another solid draft, including stealing Derwin James at No. 17 overall. Don’t forget, they are basically getting their first- (Mike Williams) and second-round (Forrest Lamp) picks from last year back, too. Philip Rivers proved he is still one of the top quarterbacks in the game, and general manager Tom Telesco has finally given him the support he needs.
Taking a look at the schedule, it’s hard to pick what games they will win and what games they will lose. You can’t judge a team by a previous year’s performance. I mean, look at what the Jags and Los Angeles Rams did last year after everyone automatically counted them out prior to the start of the season.
What I do know is the Chargers can’t start 0-4 like they did last year. They have a huge battle against those pesky Chiefs to open up the season and even though it’s Week 1, getting that ‘W’ is as important as ever. Next up would be Nathan Peterman and the Buffalo Bills, and you know Peterman is still having nightmares after what happened last year when he played the Bolts.
They have some tough matchups here and there (Rams and Steelers in particular), but the schedule doesn’t look that daunting. At the same time, it’s crazy to think that games against the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns aren’t going to be easy wins, especially when you look at the talent on both rosters. The AFC is wide open, and anyone has a chance to win.
With all of that said, I’m picking the Chargers to go 11-5. Depending on how it plays out, I see them as the No. 3 seed in the AFC, with the chance to even jump up to the No. 2 seed if everything goes accordingly.
There’s just too much talent on this team, and I think they’re as confident as ever. Let’s see if they can put it all together for what should be an exciting season.