LA Chargers News: Bolts projected to finish third in AFC West


There has been plenty of LA Chargers news this offseason with several key additions and a new quarterback under center for this season and beyond. With all of these additions and changes, fans are hoping that the Chargers could change for the better from last season.

One year after having the joint-best record in the AFC at 12-4, the Chargers easily were the most disappointing team in the NFL, dropping all the way to 5-11.

However, as great as he is, a big reason for the Chargers’ losses was turnovers, which were mostly fueled by Philip Rivers. With a really solid roster still in LA as well as a changing of the guard at quarterback, fans are expecting more than five wins this season.

LA Chargers News: Mike Clay projects the Chargers to go 7-9.

Before every season, ESPN’s Mike Clay puts out his record predictions for the upcoming NFL season. These are more than just subjective team rankings, as we get plenty of those in sports media, they are based on some pretty useful statistical models.

Clay breaks down unit grades for every team from the quarterback all the way to the safeties and then uses that to formulate a team’s overall score. On a scale from zero to four, the Chargers have a 1.7 overall grade, good enough for 23rd.

He also breaks down the strength of schedule. While we do not yet know the exact schedule for the Chargers (that is released on Thursday), we do know who their opponents are. The Chargers have the seventh-easiest schedule.

With all that factored in, Clay’s projections have the Chargers winning 7.9 games in 2020. Obviously, that is not possible, so we can round up the 0.1 and say that his projections are that the Chargers will go 8-8 in 2020.

More importantly, the projections have the Chargers finishing third in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. The Broncos, based on his projections, would make the playoffs as the sixth. seed in the AFC while the Cleveland Browns are the seventh seed.

The Broncos are projected to win 8.7 games (round up to 9) with Cleveland projected to win 8.6 (also round up to nine).

Last year, Clay’s projections had the Chargers winning 10.4 games. They definitely had the talent to do so, but of course, we all know what really happened.

In looking at Clay’s projections, it appears as if the quarterback position is the main reason for the Chargers ranking on the unit grades as well as their projected win total. The quarterback position accounts for 24% of the total unit grade, which is by far the most with the second-highest percentage being the offensive line at 13 percent.

The Chargers, who have Tyrod Taylor likely starting in 2020, have a 0.4 grade at the quarterback position. Only the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots have lower grades while the Indianapolis Colts have a 2.1 grade at quarterback.

It will be interesting to see how it really plays out. There is no denying that Philip Rivers is the better all-around quarterback, but Taylor’s tendency to protect the ball and not turn it over very well could be better for the team.

Next. Four new players in the AFC West to worry about

At the end of the day, we all hope that these projections are off the mark and the Chargers win more than eight games in 2020.