The one thing this Chargers team didn’t have last season was playoff experience. That same playoff experience is a big reason why the Patriots are so difficult to beat.
The Chargers had missed the playoffs in five straight seasons before last season. Though they qualified for the postseason and even went on the road and won a game, their lack of big-game experience against the Patriots was crystal clear.
There is perhaps no equalizer for experience and when you’re up against an opponent with a wealth of it, that opponent will always have a huge advantage.
The Chargers have had months to get the miserable taste of that defeat out of their mouths but it won’t be completely gone until they can redeem themselves for that loss. The Patriots figure to be in the mix again as usual, so that opportunity could come again around the same time this year.
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Of course, the Chiefs gained some valuable experience as well and also suffered a bitter defeat (perhaps even more bitter) against the Patriots. But for the reasons listed above, the Chargers will be ahead of the Chiefs in this year’s pecking order.
The Chargers will win the AFC West this year and it is quite possible that they will face the Patriots in January for the right to play in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.