After posting a 12-4 record last season, the Los Angeles Chargers have slipped into mediocrity. They quietly had one of the best regular seasons in the NFL last year because of how focused everyone was on the division rival Chiefs. But the Chargers were no slouches. They knocked off the Ravens in the first round of the playoff last year before the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots booted them from the the postseason. It might be time for a new era to begin.
The Chargers have lost quite a bit of firepower after finishing as a top six offense last year. This season Los Angeles has the 21st ranked scoring offense. While the team is still among the league leaders in passing yards, its run game has suffered. Running back Melvin Gordon’s contract holdout this offseason is probably one of the main reasons the team’s ground game fell from middle-of-the-road to bottom six. But having him from the start of the season doesn’t seem like it would make the team much better. Bigger changes must be made.
Phillip Rivers’ reign is coming to an end. The 38-year-old has been with the Chargers since 2004 and has had an impressive career. But the numbers show it’s time for Los Angeles to move on. His 21 passing touchdowns through Week 16 would be his lowest mark in 12 years if he doesn’t throw one in Week 17. He’s also thrown 18 interceptions. That ratio will almost never lead to success. Los Angeles is in a position where it can draft and groom Rivers’ successor in the first round of the 2020 draft. It can’t miss this opportunity.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Chargers face their divisional opponents a total of six times. The AFC West faces the NFC South, which adds four more opponents. The AFC West faces the AFC East, which adds four more opponents. The final two opponents are the teams that finish in the same standing position in the AFC South and AFC North.