LA Chargers Schedule: Ranking all 16 games by difficulty
By Steven Haglund
#13 toughest matchup of 2020: Carolina Panthers, Week 3
On paper, the LA Chargers should be able to handle the Carolina Panthers. That being said, this game has sneaky potential to be a trap game for them. They play the Panthers after what is likely to be a very emotional and tough home opener against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs and right before they have to travel to Tampa Bay.
The reason why I have them ranked here over the following matchups is because the game is going to played in Los Angeles.
While I think the Panthers will be competitive, I do think they’ll struggle to win games in the first year under their new regime. Christian McCaffrey is an amazing player and capable of breaking open any contest, so if the Chargers can relatively contain him they should be in good shape. With the addition of Kenneth Murray and return to health of Derwin James that should be doable.
That really is the key to beating the Panthers in 2020. Robby Anderson, DJ Moore and Teddy Bridgewater are all solid players but they are hardly franchise cornerstone type players in my opinion and they don’t really have many of those on defense either, outside of Shaq Thompson.
#12 toughest matchup of 2020: Miami Dolphins, Week 7
I would expect the Miami Dolphins to still be playing Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback by the time these two play each other. The best time to bring in Tua Tagovailoa would be after their week eleven bye, in my opinion.
Fitzpatrick showed he can keep things close with this team last season. I don’t think anyone really expected them to win five games after they traded half their roster. So credit to him and that coaching staff for staying competitive because that goes a long way in establishing a winning culture.
The Chargers weirdly struggle in Miami, I was pretty nervous at halftime of that game last year. This could be another potential trap game for the Chargers, especially since they have to travel to New Orleans and Tampa Bay in previous weeks.
I would still expect this team will be able to go into Miami and win. The Dolphins should be improved after adding some very solid veteran players like Kyle Van Noy in free agency, but the offensive line will still struggle to protect whoever is throwing the football and even though he’s had some very good games against the Chargers, Devante Parker is still really the only weapon they have on offense.
#11 toughest matchup of 2020: Atlanta Falcons, Week fourteen
This is where the schedule starts getting tougher. While I don’t think the Falcons are a great team, I do think they are a very talented team with the potential to beat anyone on any given week. The difference here is that I think Dan Quinn is a pretty mediocre coach in this league and it shows on a weekly basis how unprepared that team can be at times.
Any team with Julio Jones is a threat to light up the scoreboard. He’s the type of player to make you nervous any time he is on the field. Calvin Ridley is no slouch either. Thankfully, the Falcons are pretty average at almost every other spot except wide receiver and especially on the defensive side of the football.
This game has shootout potential and could be the most entertaining home game of the year for the Chargers, but they pretty clearly have the better roster, outside of Jones, in my opinion. The defense should be able to limit the Falcons’ passing attack just enough to give them the advantage.
#10 toughest matchup of 2020: Las Vegas Raiders, Week 9
The Las Vegas Raiders are a hard team to figure out. They clearly have a style of player they are looking for, it’s just that the style doesn’t mesh across units. On offense it’s speed over everything: Henry Ruggs, Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs bring that and then some. On defense, however, it’s toughness over athleticism.
Usually, a team that covets speed on offense does the same on defense. Not the Raiders though, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who they select in the draft other than where they played their college ball. Derek Carr isn’t as bad as Chargers fans make him out to be but what he isn’t is a guy who will kill you with the deep ball and yet that’s all the Raiders seem to want of their receivers.
I honestly don’t know what to expect week to week from the Raiders, but it seems like on paper they should be the worst team in the division this year. While the matchups with the Raiders are never easy I do expect this Chargers team to be out for blood after getting swept by every team in the division last season, but especially the Raiders.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) May 6, 2020