The LA Chargers will start the 2023 season at home against the Miami Dolphins and most NFL pundits do not know what to expect in this matchup. Both LA and Miami were playoff teams last season but a lot can change in the offseason, even if the two teams look similar.
These two teams squared off on primetime last season and the Chargers put a beating on the Dolphins. It was the worst offensive game of the year for Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins as Brandon Staley's defense had all the answers for what the Dolphins wanted to do.
Miami head coach Mike McDaniel still seems pretty petty about the blowout loss and has since hired former Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill, who the Dolphins hope can help unlock something in this matchup.
That is what Dolphins fans are riding on and there is a very real possibility that Miami heads into this game more prepared than last season. However, optimistic Dolphins fans who are banking on this are also conveniently overlooking the scary truth about this Chargers team: they are a lot healthier this time around.
Dolphins fans are ignoring the fact that the Chargers are much healthier for Week 1
Not all of the players who were out of action last season when these teams played are going to be back for the Bolts in this game. Jalen Guyton is on the PUP list and both Dustin Hopkins and Bryce Callahan are off the team. J.C. Jackson's status for Week 1 is unclear.
That being said, there are going to be a lot of impactful Chargers who will be playing this game that did not play last year. If everything holds, the Chargers won't have to deal with having two backup tackles and won't have a defense without Derwin James and Joey Bosa.
That's not to mention the return of Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson, who are the two best run defenders that the Chargers have. If Jackson is healthy and can play in this game it is the icing on the cake.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are dealing with a big injury of their own that is going to make it even tougher to crack Staley's defense and right the wrongs from last season.
Nothing is guaranteed in the game of football and the Chargers still have to go out and win this game on Sunday to start the season 1-0. But this is a different Chargers team than last season and last season's team beat the brakes off of the Dolphins.