The LA Chargers are not viewed in a favorable light on the first NFL power rankings.
The NFL is back and with it comes every sports fans’ favorite thing to debate about: power rankings. NFL.com recently released its power rankings heading into Week 1 and the LA Chargers did not get the most favorable ranking.
Dan Hanzus did the power rankings and ranked the Chargers 22nd, which was the same ranking he gave the team in his previous power rankings before training camp.
When talking about the Chargers heading into the 2020 season, Hanzus touched on Derwin James’ injury but did not talk much about why the team is in the bottom third of the league.
“Sometimes, sports are just plain unfair. This should have been the year Derwin James played a full season and reminded the world that he’s the most talented safety in football. Instead, a knee injury ends his season before it begins. If he’s back on the field for Week 1 next September, he’ll return having missed 27 of his last 32 games due to lower-body maladies. Even without James, the Bolts’ defense has the talent to be a strong unit. But coordinator Gus Bradley’s group had the chance to be special with James doing his thing on the back end. It ain’t right.”
Hanzus has an excellent point — sports are unfair. The one caveat is that Charger fans are probably the most prepared for an injury like James’ just because of the sheer bad luck the franchise has endured since its existence. It is a terrible situation, but it is a feeling that every Charger fan is familiar with.
Should the LA Chargers be ranked 22nd?
While we can obviously put on our bias goggles and make the case for the Chargers being in the top half of the league, I think this is a fair place to put the Bolts considering the season they had last year as well as the changes the team is undergoing.
When you go 5-11 the year prior, even if it was an extremely underwhelming season, you rarely get the benefit of the doubt (unless you are the overhyped Cleveland Browns) the following season. That seems to at least contribute to this ranking and it is completely fair.
Also, it is really hard to gauge what to expect out of the Chargers this season. The season is going to be utilizing a brand-new offensive gameplan with a new offensive coordinator and a new type of quarterback under center. With no preseason games, there is absolutely nothing for us to go off.
We know the defense is going to be solid, it is the efficiency of the offense that we are uncertain of and until we see it in NFL action for 3-4 weeks we won’t have the complete picture of what to expect. The Bolts could come out and absolutely smash expectations with this new offense or it could blow up in their face.
Ranking the LA Chargers 22nd is fair. It is low enough to quickly move them down if this does not work but high enough to move them into the top half of the league if they exceed expectations.
As far as the rest of the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs rightfully rank first, the Denver Broncos rank one spot ahead of the Chargers at 21 and the Las Vegas Raiders rank too high at 20 — the Raiders are not better than the Broncos and Chargers.