1. A 1-3 record is historically really hard to overcome
Since 1990, the LA Chargers have started the season with exactly a 1-3 record just four times. In those four occurrences, the Chargers only made the playoffs once (2007). Their all-time record in years with a 1-3 start is 26-40, and outside of that one playoff appearance, the most wins the team got in a season was six.
That 2007 team was also insanely talented — more talented than this team. They had to play the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers on the road and dropped a disappointing game to Kansas City.
Granted, that does not mean it is a guarantee that the Chargers cannot overcome a 1-3 start. The team started 0-4 in Anthony Lynn‘s first season and got red-hot over the second half of the season and finished 9-7 and would have made the playoffs in an expanded format.
However, if that year taught us anything it is that the worst thing to do is to get in a hole early and play catchup the rest of the way. It leaves no margin for error.
Plus, the recent history of 1-3 teams is also not great. Since 2010, there have been 71 teams to start the season with a 1-3 record. Of those 71, nine made the playoffs and the average final record for the teams was 6-10.
None of the nine teams that did make the playoffs made it past the Divisional Round.
However, last year the Pittsburgh Steelers started 1-3 and would have made the playoffs in this year’s format with an 8-8 record — so the Chargers should not stress too much, right? Well, even with that extra playoff spot, the Chargers could leave too much ground to overcome.