There is a lot of excitement around the LA Chargers as the team heads into the 2022 season. The Bolts are one of the most talented teams in the entire league and if everything goes as planned, should be competing for a shot in the Super Bowl in January.
Things can look fantastic on paper but the team still has to go out and prove it on the field week in and week out. The Chargers have had really talented teams on paper in the past and have failed to turn that into anything tangible. To be fair, this year does feel different, though.
Other people outside of the Chargers fandom are starting to take notice of that as well. Sayre Bedinger of NFL Spin Zone recently broke down the three teams who have the best shot of winning their first Super Bowl this season and of course, the Chargers made the cut.
However, Bedinger penciled the Chargers in as the third-most likely team to win its first Super Bowl this season behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. That is a placement that we disagree with here at Bolt Beat.
The Chargers should rank higher on the list of teams that can win its first Super Bowl.
I cannot refute the Buffalo Bills being no. 1 on this list. While I think the Chargers can go toe-to-toe with the Bills and beat them in a playoff game, the Bills arguably would have won the Super Bowl last season if Patrick Mahomes didn't pull a rabbit out of his hat with 13 seconds left... or if the Bills would have won the overtime coin flip.
However, there is no reason for the Bengals to be ahead of the Chargers on this list. Yes, the Bengals made a great run to the Super Bowl last season that has put them in every NFL pundit's favor heading into the 2022 season. The reality is that if you play that Super Bowl run back 100 times, the Bengals are probably actually making it to the big game less than 25% of the time.
If Derek Carr throws a touchdown instead of an interception in the Wild-Card Round to end the game then the Bengals may not have even made it past round one. Then the team was blessed with a still-injured Derrick Henry and a bad quarterback in Ryan Tannehill who did what bad quarterbacks do: choke in big spots.
The Chiefs absolutely should have beaten the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game but Patrick Mahomes put together the worst half of football in his entire career to allow Cincy to come back. They absolutely deserve credit, don't get me wrong, but can we really expect everything to break their way like it did last season?
The fact of the matter is that the Bengals had one of the easiest, if not the easiest, schedules in the league last season. They also caught breaks against key opponents like the Baltimore Ravens, who dealt with a covid outbreak one week against the Cincy. This year is different as the Bengals have a tougher schedule, and more importantly, a target on their back.
Top to bottom, the Chargers are better than the Bengals in just about every area. The only area where the Bengals are undoubtedly better than the Chargers right now is receiver and it is not like the Chargers are talentless at receiver.
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Paper does not play football games but it seems impossible to like the Bengals more on paper than the Chargers in 2022.