The Los Angeles Chargers fell one game — or maybe just one play — short of clinching a Wild Card berth last season. Instead, a heartbreaking Week 18 defeat left them at 9-8. That’s an improvement from where they were in 2020, but this team has much higher goals in mind this fall.
A 35-32 overtime loss to the Raiders in that season finale — a game which featured a furious L.A. comeback with a touchdown on the final play of regulation and a walk-off field goal by Las Vegas as overtime expired — kept the Chargers home for the playoffs for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. To improve their 2022 fate, the Chargers spent beaucoup bucks this offseason to bring in pass rusher extraordinaire Khalil Mack and ballhawk cornerback J.C. Jackson as well as bring back wide receiver Mike Williams.
Week 1: vs. Raiders (WIN) (1-0)
Week 2: at Chiefs (WIN) (2-0)
Week 3: vs. Jaguars (WIN) (3-0)
Week 4: at Houston (LOSS) (3-1)
Week 5: at Browns (WIN) (4-1)
Week 6: vs. Broncos (LOSS) (4-2)
Week 7: vs. Seahawks (WIN) (5-2)
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: at Falcons (WIN) (6-2)
Week 10: at 49ers (WIN) (7-2)
Week 11: vs. Chiefs (LOSS) (7-3)
Week 12: at Cardinals (LOSS) (7-4)
Week 13: at Raiders (WIN) (8-4)
Week 14: vs. Dolphins (WIN) (9-4)
Week 15: vs. Titans (LOSS) (9-5)
Week 16: at Colts (WIN) (10-5)
Week 17: vs. Rams (LOSS) (10-6)
Week 18: at Broncos (LOSS) (10-7)
This team has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball with Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, and now Mack teaming with Joey Bosa on the other side of the ball. But, man ... that stretch from Week 10 on is an absolute gauntlet. The Chargers will have six matchups against playoff teams during that stretch, will see an improved Dolphins squad, have a road game against a Colts team that should have made the playoffs last year, and finish with a trip to visit Russell Wilson and the Broncos. That looks like a torture chamber.
Win total odds: Over 10 (-125), Under 10 (+105)
Pick: Under 10
Even with the upgrades they have made, that total may be a little too ambitious for the Chargers. Not that they can’t clear 10 wins, but can they do so with this schedule? If they are healthy, they could easily exceed that projection above. But the Chargers will also have to evade the kind of mind-numbing defeats that have become far too common for the franchise in recent years (see: Week 4).
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