Chargers' 2024 opponents officially set in stone: Early impressions

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The LA Chargers' season has unofficially been over for a month ever since the team lost Justin Herbert to a broken finger on his throwing hand. Since then, the Bolts have done their job at losing games to increase draft position to better prepare for 2024 and beyond.

Losing out also guaranteed that the Chargers would finish last in the AFC West this season, which is important for scheduling purposes. Every team's yearly schedule consists of six games against division foes, four games against one AFC division, four games against one NFC division, and three games against teams in other divisions based on the standings from the previous season.

In 2024, the AFC West plays the AFC North and NFC South. The other three games (which are decided by standings) are against the AFC South, AFC East, and NFC West. Los Angeles is locked into last in the AFC West, as are the last place teams in those three divisions. Thus, we have a full list of Chargers opponents for the 2024 season.

The exact order of the games as well as which ones will be on primetime is yet to be announced. Those are announced in the second week of May, with the NFL doing a great job of making a spectacle out of the schedule release.

Early impressions from the Chargers' 2024 opponents

The Chargers' schedule looks much easier on paper in 2024 than it was in 2023

Of course, a lot is going to change over the course of the offseason and some teams that look good may no longer be good. Some teams that look bad may turn a corner and actually be tough matchups. It is impossible to predict with 100% certainty how each NFL team will be in 2024.

All that being said, the early signs are at least promising for the Chargers. The NFC South as a whole is not very good and there may not be sweeping changes in that regard next season. The Tennessee Titans are always a tough opponent but are going backward; the Patriots and Cardinals are bad teams this year that could pick up huge difference-makers in the draft.

The AFC North is going to be a very tough division to play but thankfully the rest of the AFC West does as well. Like the Chargers, the Raiders and Broncos are nearly impossible to gauge with so many question marks around their future.

The Chargers will play six games outdoors in 2024

Six of the eight road games that the Chargers will play in 2024 are going to be outdoors. The only opponents the Chargers play on the road who play in a dome are the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons.

This could create some really tough matchups for the Bolts depending on the scheduling. Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Foxborough, Cleveland and Denver are all places that you don't want to play at in December. Carolina will be fine.

The Chargers have real international potential in 2024

There are several games on the 2024 schedule that look primed to be played internationally. As it stands right now, there are two London games to fill (one has already been given to the Jacksonville Jaguars), one Germany game and one Brazil game.

The Buccaneers, Panthers, Chiefs and Patriots are all designated as marketed teams in Germany by the NFL (the Chargers are designated to be marketed in Mexico) and the Chargers have road games against all four of those teams. What is a way to make people care about a Panthers-Chargers game? Ship them over to Germany.

The Dolphins are the marketed team in Brazil and the Chargers do not play them in 2024, so that probably won't happen. However, a London game could absolutely be on the table if the Chargers do not go to Germany in 2024.

The Chargers haven't been to London since 2018 when they defeated the Tennessee Titans. Will the NFL run that matchup back? If not, there are other matchups (such as against the Saints or Falcons) that may need extra juice. Putting that game in London does just that.

Potential primetime games for the Chargers

As bad as the 2023 season has been, the Chargers are still going to get some primetime rub with Justin Herbert under center. If Jim Harbaugh is actually hired by the team then there will be even more primetime games for the Bolts.

Outside of any potential international game, here are the early favorites to be broadcast on primetime next season. As already mentioned, a lot can change between now and May, so some matchups may become more or less intriguing.

  • vs/at Las Vegas Raiders
  • vs/at Kansas City Chiefs
  • vs Cincinnati Bengals
  • vs Baltimore Ravens
  • at Pittsburgh Steelers
  • at Cleveland Browns

Obviously, not all of these games will be primetime games but this is a fun slate to choose from. The Chargers always seemingly have two divisional games on primetime, one of which will naturally be on Thursday Night Football.

The Steelers and Browns are two historic franchises so they always have to be considered, although they are the weakest of the games listed above. A Herbert-Joe Burrow matchup should 100% be on primetime as should the Harbaugh Bowl against Baltimore if Jim is hired. Those are givens.