It's no secret Herbert is going to be chasing a Super Bowl title and league MVP award this year, and by all means he should have as good a shot as any quarterback in the league at both.
But for today, I think it'll be fun to go through some interesting story lines that *other* AFC teams may or may not have going for them that could directly affect the Bolts' 2022 season.
Here are five storylines around the AFC that could even open up a path for a Chargers Super Bowl appearance this season.
1) Josh Allen Seeks Revenge for OT Loss to Chiefs
I fully expect Justin Herbert and the Bolts to be in on a Super Bowl run this year, but getting by the toughest division in the league on paper is half the battle. The Buffalo Bills await challengers in the AFC as quarterback Josh Allen is primed to go on an MVP run himself.
Everybody and their mother is high on the Bills going into this next season, and for good reason. They may be a little thinner in the receiving core than many anticipate them to be with the loss of a key piece in Cole Beasley, but this team is still very much the cream of the crop when it comes to Super Bowl contenders in 2022-23.
I'd be shocked if any football fan out there is not aware of the controversy that took place between the Bills and Chiefs at Arrowhead in the Divisional Round of this past season's playoffs. We all know the story by now. Allen and Mahomes got into a shootout for the ages. Both made key drives, late, and came through for their offenses when the game was on the line.
It was only a coin toss that appeared to get the better of Allen that night, who could not be stopped otherwise, as the Chiefs won the overtime toss and proceeded to score immediately.
Buffalo fans are sour. Football fans were outraged that Allen didn't get to touch the ball in OT. And the Bills are now on a mission to win the first Super Bowl of their franchise's history, now with perhaps the most talented player they've ever had on the offensive side of the ball leading the way in Josh Allen.
That is what is standing in the way of the Chargers once they get to the playoffs, as I'm sure we all expect them to be.
For my money, I think Justin displays a lot of characteristics that make him stand apart from Allen in the passing game. He's certainly more accurate than the former Wyoming standout (Herbert 66.2% to Allen 62.3%). Touchdown percentage, interception rate, passer rating, and QBR also favor Herbert over Josh.
- TD %: Herbert 5.4% to Allen 5.2%
- INT %: Herbert 2% to Allen 2.3%
- Overall Rating: Herbert 97.9 to Allen 91
- 2021-22 Rating: Herbert 97.7 to Allen 92.2
- Average QBR: Herbert 64.1 to Allen 59.1
- 2021-22 QBR: Herbert 65.6 to Allen 60.7
Allen and Buffalo are going to have a lot of momentum behind them this year, but I very much believe Justin can stand up to them and potentially knock them off in an AFC Championship scenario.