Are the LA Chargers real contenders to win the AFC West?

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Chargers
Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Chargers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Through five weeks the LA Chargers are 4-1 and sit atop the AFC. This is the best start for the Chargers since 2014, where they started 5-1 but in classic Charger fashion, missed the playoffs at 9-7. So how legit are the Chargers so far, and do they have a smell of fraudulence so far?

Quite simply, no. Everything about the Chargers feels 180 degrees different from past seasons. For once the Chargers have a top offensive line in the league, led by All-Pro center Corey Linsley, and standout rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater. A revamped coaching staff seems to be getting the best out of every position as well.

Looking at the past two wins, a lot of fans would feel confident that the Chargers would lose both of these games last year. We have seen huge leads evaporate time and time again the past couple years and the fight the Chargers had against Cleveland on Sunday was something we have not seen in a very long time.

So how do the LA Chargers match up against the rest of the AFC West?

After 3-0 starts both the Broncos and the Raiders have lost 2 straight, and now the Raiders have a coaching problem with Jon Gruden resigning. Kansas City is coming off one of their worst stretches this decade, going just 1-3 the past 4 weeks. As of right now, the division looks wide open, and the Chargers look like one of the more complete teams in the West.

What do the Chargers need to improve on? Sunday saw a lot of missed tackles, this is certainly an area the Chargers need to work on. Special teams appears to once again be an issue, with kicker Tristan Vizcaino missing two extra points against Cleveland.

It is not time to move on from Vizcaino yet, but an improvement needs to come if the Chargers want to continue their success.

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This Sunday will be a good test for the Chargers, they travel to Baltimore and play a Ravens team that is just as hot and has just as many stars. If the Chargers come out with a win, it's safe to put the legitimate tag on them.