Chargers Keep Going in Right Direction & Exceed Win Total

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:12 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 2:12 PM UTC

Last year the Chargers had their first winning campaign since 2014 but still remained on the outside looking in on the postseason. Will they be better, worse or the same this year? Let’s find out.

The Bolts staggered out of the gate last season by dropping their first four games. But then Philip Rivers began to get some help from his comrades and the Chargers soared down the stretch, winning six of their last seven to end the season with a 9-7 record. Rivers had decent pass protection last year and had an arsenal to work with, including the multidimensional Melvin Gordon out of the backfield, wideouts Kennan Allen and Travis Benjamin as well as tight end stud Hunter Henry. But injuries plagued the Chargers last year and ominously Hunter Henry is already lost for the season with an ACL tear. Los Angeles is desperately trying to fill that void and is trying to woo Antonio Gates back to the fold after he was cast aside in the offseason.

As we check out the NFL odds board we see that the Chargers are favored to win the AFC West this season. Let’s examine the odds to win the division, conference and Super Bowl.

Odds to Win AFC West: +162 (1st)
Odds to Win AFC: +1000 (5th)
Odds to Win Super Bowl: +2600 (12th)

Now let’s review L.A.’s recent win-loss records as well as the projected total wins that the oddsmakers were dealing before each season started, including this one.

2018: 9½ (U-120)
2017: 7½ (O-155) (9-7 record)
2016: 7 (O-165) (5-11 record)
2015: 8½ (U-125) (4-12 record)

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Up, Up, and Away 🚀

— Austin Ekeler (@AustinEkeler) August 6, 2018

Chargers Outlook

Offense: The Chargers have all their weapons returning with the notable exception of tight end Hunter Henry. That will be a void impossible to replace unless they swing a deal. Hopefully, second-year wide receiver Mike Williams can stay injury-free and prove he was worthy of the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft. Nevertheless, Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Tyrell Williams form a better-than-average triumvirate but if Williams could push for one of those starting slots then Rivers could have an even more dynamic passing attack. Let’s also not forget that the offensive line will get a boost with newly acquired Mike Pouncey at center and guard Nick Lamp returning from injury. The Bolts also have a new kicker in Caleb Sturgis, who will hopefully be an upgrade over the departing Nick Novak.

Defense: Los Angeles boasts a terrific pass rush with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. In addition, the Chargers have an outstanding secondary led by Casey Hayward that got even better when they selected FSU safety Derwin James as the 17th overall pick in the draft. The linebacking corps is the weak link on this defense but they should see improvement with the addition of USC’s versatile Uchenna Nwosu, chosen in the second round of the 2018 draft.

Bottom Line: The Bolts will have four tough games against divisional opponents Kansas City and Oakland. We could easily see a split giving L.A. two wins there and two more against the weak sister of the AFC West, Denver. Now we are up to four wins and we can project victories over Cleveland (road), Tennessee (home), Seattle (road), Arizona (home), Cincinnati (home), and Baltimore (home). That looks like 10 wins to me and because the line is 9½, I am apt to include the Chargers going "over" in my NFL picks to begin the season.

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