The Los Angeles Chargers came as close as one could possibly come to a postseason appearance in 2021, but some late-game shenanigans allowed the Las Vegas Raiders to beat them to the punch. Justin Herbert and Brandon Staley are out for revenge as they try to compete in 2022.
Herbert, one year out from throwing for 5,000 yards, is going to give LA a puncher's chance of competing for a championship. The rest of the squad had some cracks in the foundation last year, but they appear to have been papered over to a respectable degree thanks to Tom Telesco's insightful maneuvering.
In a division that features a playoff team from last year in Vegas, the recently revamped Broncos, and a Chiefs team that is going nowhere, LA will need to be perfect to make the postseason for the first time in the post-Philip Rivers era.
Bleacher Report declared that the Chargers would not only win the AFC West, arguably the toughest division in football, in 2022, but they should be viewed as the favorites to win the entire AFC. After a busy offseason, Brandon Staley should have all the tools needed to make a deep run in the postseason.
Will the Los Angeles Chargers compete for a title?
The Chargers are beyond reproach from a passing game point of view. Herbert, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams are as good a three-headed monster as any attack in the league has to offer. That alone is going to keep the Chargers in the hunt.
The defense wasn't as sharp as one would expect a unit coached by someone just one year removed from coordinating the league's best unit with the Rams. With JC Jackson signed long-term to fix some of the secondary problems and Khalil Mack opposite Joey Bosa on the defensive line, this group is poised for a much stronger season.
Getting through the division is going to be an absolute dogfight. More than one-third of their games will feature them going toe-to-toe with Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and the Derek Carr/Davante Adams duo. That's a daunting path, but Herbert's arm and this new-look defense should be able to handle it.
Even the biggest Herbert supporter had no idea he would be this good this quickly. As a result, LA's window for contention has opened much sooner than expected. It'll be up to Staley and all of the new pieces to surround Herbert with the help he needs to make the Chargers a feared team when the winter rolls around.