The Los Angeles Chargers are looking to build on a (12-4) 2018 regular season campaign, where they were bounced fairly early in the playoffs. QB Phillip Rivers finished the season ranked 7th in QBR and led the team to 6th in points per game due to one of his best years of late. Health was an issue for some of the season as RB Melvin Gordon was injured off and non as well as WR Mike Williams not playing a handful of games. The Chargers defense finished towards the top of the league ranking 9th in defensive yards allowed per game and 7th in points per game allowed. In the offseason the Chargers have added NT Brandon Mebane, and LB Thomas Davis who is going to provide instant leadership. The drafting of DT Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame is sure to help as well, especially with the loss of CB Jason Verrett. Coach Anthony Lynn and this Charger staff start their quest for an AFC West crown in week 1 vs the Indianapolis Colts.
Week 1 vs Indianapolis Colts
Although the Colts finished super-hot last season ending with a 10-6 record after starting 1-5, the Chargers have this teams’ number on defense. This defense has also improved in the offseason and if DE Joey Bosa continues his dominance, this defense will be hard to handle. I think this defense will produce just enough stops to allow its offense to outscore the Colts.
Week 2 at Detroit Lions
The Lions had a disappointing season last year under 1st year coach Matt Patricia, finishing with a 6-10 record in a loaded NFC North. This offense was a disappointment finishing 24th in the league in total yards and relying too heavily on QB Matthew Stafford. Until the Lions can get steady production out of the run game, this offense will continue to struggle. I like this Chargers defense to get after this below average offense for a win on the road.
Week 3 vs Houston Texans
This will be a slug fest as QB Deshaun Watson comes off of a heck of a season posting the 13th Best QBR in his first Pro Bowl season. This defense is also for real as they finished ranking 3rd in points allowed per game in 2018. I see this Chargers offense being too explosive for everyone to be covered, and the Chargers defense able to keep WR Deandre Hopkins in check down the field.
Week 4 at Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are in rebuild mode and are nowhere near talented enough to hang with this team on either side of the ball. Give me the Chargers.
Week 5 vs Denver Broncos
The Chargers led by Phillip Rivers will be hard to stop as the Broncos defense I expect to still be at the bottom of the league. Rivers had the 7th highest QBR of any QB last season and led their offense to the 6th best points per game average. I think the Chargers are too talented on both sides of the ball for the Broncos to stop on the road.
Week 6 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will come into this season with a new look as they will be without one of the best WR’s in the league in Antonio Brown. WR Ju Ju Smith Shuster will have to prove his number one status as a wide receiver and I do not know if he will get the chance. Head Coach Anthony Lynn will force James Connor to beat him on the ground and Big Ben to hit his secondary targets which I see as being hard to pull off for the Steelers. The Chargers defense is also more consistent and talented than this Steelers defense, even with the drafting of Devin Bush. Give me the Chargers at home.
Week 7 at Tennessee Titans
The Chargers will come into this game rolling as they will have won 6 games in a row. This Titans offense is unquestionably worse than the Chargers as they have had inconsistent QB play with Marcus Mariota. Even so much, they brought in below average QB Ryan Tannehill to provide some sort of competition. This Titans offensive scheme will not be able to keep up with the high tempo the Chargers put into action. Chargers win on the road.
Week 8 at Chicago Bears
This is where I believe the win streak comes to an end as the Chargers travel to Soldier Field to face the #1 ranked points allowed per game defense in the Chicago Bears. The Bears defense is scary and if QB Mitch Trubisky can limit turnovers and get his playmaker in Cohen going, the Bears should be able to win this one.
Week 9 vs Green Bay Packers
I know NFC North foes do not want to hear it, but I believe that the Aaron Rodgers of old will return after an injury and tension filled season. I think new Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s system will help enhance the Packers signal caller and the Packers defense should improve from last year allowing for tremendous improvement. I like the Packers to steal this one on the road.
Week 10 at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders are a team I have zero faith in for this upcoming season. QB Derek Carr has been terrible and I do not see him bouncing back. Also, the Raiders defense ranked last in points per game allowed in 2018. The Charges are just more talented on both sides of the ball. Give me the Chargers.
Week 11 vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have had the Chargers number as of late and return one of the most explosive offenses to ever be seen in the NFL. Reigning MVP QB Patrick Mahomes and his first ranked total yards and points per game offense are going to make a deep playoff run and possibly a world championship. I just see no way for the Chargers to hang with them on offense to pull out a win.
Week 12 Bye
Week 13 at Denver Broncos
Every team has that game during the season that is a stunner; this is mine for the Chargers. I think that the Broncos defense will be able to build off of their previous matchup to stop this Chargers offense just enough to pull out the win at home.
Week 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars
This will be a challenging game for the Chargers as the Jaguars defense is for real. Finishing ranked 5th in total defensive yards allowed and the drafting of Josh Allen should help stabilize the loss of leading tackler Telvin Smith. The issue here is that I just do not believe in Nick Foles as the franchise quarterback of a team. I see Rivers outdueling him on the road for a win.
Week 15 vs Minnesota Vikings
This will be a very tough matchup for this team as the Minnesota Vikings are set for a bounce back year. They are my sleeper for a NFC title contender as I think they win the NFC North. The Vikings have the more experience head coach, similar defenses, and more weapons on offense than the Chargers. Give me the Vikings at home.
Week 16 vs Oakland Raiders
This will be a repeat of their week 10 matchup as the Chargers sweep the season series.
Week 17 at Kansas City Chiefs
This will be a repeat of their week 11 matchup as the Chiefs roll to a season series sweep.
This line is right on the money to me as the Chargers play the Chiefs twice, as well as the play teams in the loaded AFC South and NFC North divisions. I am just a believer in Phillip Rivers and this coaching staff and I think 10 wins will allow them to get into the playoffs as a wild card. Take the over.