The Los Angeles Chargers received unfortunate news Wednesday, as top cornerback JC Jackson is expected to miss the Week 1 opener against the Las Vegas Raiders as he continues to recover from minor ankle surgery.
Just because the Chargers will be without their top DB doesn't mean all hope is lost, however. There's multiple reasons to believe LA can still knock off their AFC West rivals.
Chief among those reasons? The Chargers roster is still loaded on both sides of the ball. Sure, the secondary takes a hit, but Justin Herbert and the offense should tear it up and Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack should make life difficult for Derek Carr.
That's what makes the Chargers so dangerous this year. Normally over-reliant on Herbert to bail them out of high-scoring games, LA's revamped defense could be what separates them from being a pretender to being a contender.
It seems like NFL experts would agree with that sentiment, because the Chargers received the second-most Super Bowl votes among NFL Media's panel of experts with five. Only the Buffalo Bills had more with 12 votes.
Chargers have second-most Super Bowl votes from NFL experts
This can be viewed as both a positive and negative.
On one hand, it's awesome that so many so-called experts are this high on the Chargers. It's one thing for fans to gas up their favorite team but for invested writers and analysts to do so is incredibly promising.
On the other hand, this sets an astronomically high bar for the season. Though Herbert is only entering his third season in the league, it's not hyperbole to deem this year Super Bowl or bust for Brandon Staley's group.
Why else would you give Jackson $40 million guaranteed in free agency and trade a second- and sixth-round pick for Mack, while agreeing to absorb the remainder of his expensive contract? This might be the last offseason the Chargers will have Herbert on a rookie deal, so it's clear the front office wants to cash in before the QB does.
Of course, the Chargers' Super Bowl window will remain open as long as Herbert is healthy and the team surrounds him with talent. These voting results just underscore the fact that this might be one of their best chances to win it all.
What do you think, Chargers fans? Are you more excited or nervous after realizing how much confidence NFL experts have in the Bolts?
It's ok to feel a little bit of both.