The LA Chargers schedule for the 2022 season has officially been released and fans can start buying their plane tickets and booking their hotel rooms if they plan on traveling to any games this season. For a fan, this is one of the most exciting days of the offseason.
It is an important day when it comes to season predictions as well. While some analysts will try and pretend like the schedule does not matter since we already knew who the Chargers were playing, it absolutely does.
Time of the year that the Chargers play a certain team absolutely matters. Not only that, but things such as the bye week, traveling (consecutive road games) and certain stretches do matter. A really tough stretch at the beginning of the year can give a team a slow start that it cannot climb out of. An easy stretch to start the year could give a team confidence that it builds on.
The hardest stretch of the Chargers schedule in 2022 comes at the worst possible time.
As far as I am concerned, the hardest stretch of the Chargers schedule comes at the end of the 2022 season, particularly the last four weeks of the season. All four opponents the Chargers play in the final four weeks are playoff teams as they wrap up against the Titans, Colts, Rams and Broncos.
To be fair, I do think that the Chargers should be able to beat both the Titans and Colts. The Titans have no offensive weapons and by this point, the Chargers' run defense will have time to test the waters and Derrick Henry will have more miles on his legs. Matt Ryan is not that big of an upgrade over Carson Wentz and his receiving corps is also terrible.
That being said, playing Henry and Jonathan Taylor in back-to-back weeks still is not fun. Making things harder is the fact that the Chargers play the Colts the day after Christmas on primetime, on the road. Depending on what the team does, they might not even get to spend Christmas with their families. That could make things harder to manage.
The Rams are obviously a tough matchup and that does not need much explaining. Then the team has to go into Denver to wrap up the season in a game that could decide the AFC West. If so, this game will be flexed to Sunday Night Football, meaning the Chargers have to play in cold, elevated Denver at night in January with playoff implications on the line.
This does not mean that the Chargers are bound to lose this game but it would be silly to outright ignore the challenges that are added in playing Denver at night in Week 18 as opposed to playing them in the afternoon in September.
The bad outlook of these final four games is the fear that the Chargers could stumble at the end of the season and miss the playoffs again. However, if they are as good as we think they will be, I think this will be the contrary. The final four weeks of the season could serve as a jumping off point to get momentum for the playoffs.