The Los Angeles Chargers ceiling next season is 14-2

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 31: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers stands on the sideline during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 31: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers stands on the sideline during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers, despite missing the playoffs last season, enter the 2018-2019 NFL season as one of the teams to watch.

The Los Angeles Chargers, fresh off a 9-7 season, are the consensus favorites to win the AFC West and could make a deep playoff run next season.

Los Angeles is turning over a talented, young roster that only got better this offseason. Pro Bowl Mike Pouncey filled a need at center while the Chargers will be getting a healthy Mike Williams and Forrest Lamp; the team’s first two picks in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Oh yeah, the team also got an absolute steal with the 17th overall pick in Derwin James, who many projected to go in the first six or seven selections.

Last but not least, the Chargers improved in the weakest area of the team last season: special teams. The Chargers signed Caleb Sturgis to take over kicking duties and even inked Roberto Aguayo to a contract as a potential relief.

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The Chargers should have been a playoff team last season. If Younghoe Koo did not miss the game-winning field goal in week two the Chargers would have finished 10-6. Instead, the team finished 9-7.

In reality, the Chargers could have won three or four games that they did not win and arguably were supposed to win said games but lost to themselves. Those following the Chargers are all too familiar with this reality.

Next season will be different and the Chargers will be a playoff team. If all goes perfectly, which is a lot to ask in the NFL, the Chargers could realistically win 14 games next season.

Here is how the team’s games break down next season:

The near guarantees:

  • Week 1 at Buffalo Bills, Week 5 vs. Oakland Raiders, Week 6 at Cleveland Browns, Week 11 vs. Denver Broncos, Week 12 vs. Arizona Cardinals, Week 14 vs. Cincinnati Bengals.

These six games should be easily in the bag for the Los Angeles Chargers next season. The Bills, Browns, Cardinals and Bengals are all far less talented than the Chargers and should ultimately fall to LA.

The Broncos and the Raiders, on the other hand, will present interesting matchups. However, the Chargers outscored the two teams 51-10 at the StubHub Center last season. Granted, both teams have different outlooks but the Chargers only got better.

Have a very strong chance of winning:

  • Week 1 vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Week 7 vs. Tennessee Titans, Week 9 at Seattle Seahawks, Week 10 at Oakland Raiders, Week 16 vs. Baltimore Ravens, Week 17 at Denver Broncos.

The Los Angeles Chargers should win all of these games. However, in typical Chargers fashion, the team may drop one or two of these games due to some mismanagement or pure bad luck. That is why the ceiling of this team is 14-2.

Los Angeles is obviously the favorites in these games, however, it will not be a cakewalk for the Bolts. Play it smart and here are another six wins for the Chargers.

Closely contested:

  • Week 4 vs. San Francisco 49ers, Week 15 at Kansas City Chiefs

The San Francisco 49ers are going to be hungry for a playoff spot and are going to be playing their best football early in the season with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. Los Angeles matches up nicely against San Francisco due to their pass-rush attack, however, this game will be full of action and highly contested.

As for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chiefs play much better at Arrowhead Stadium and will play the Chargers very close. In a perfect season, the Chargers will win both games, but will probably escape with one win.

Going to take the best performance possible:

  • Week 3 at Los Angeles Rams, Week 13 at Pittsburgh Steelers

On paper, the Los Angeles Chargers should lose these games. In a perfect season, though, the Chargers would win at least one of these games on the road in a great game that they win at the very last second.

The Los Angeles Rams game is not really a road game especially considering the Chargers are used to playing with a lot of opposing fans in Los Angeles. It is the game in Pittsburgh, though, that is going to be the team’s toughest challenge.

Next: The Chargers will be the next Legion of Boom

The Chargers are heading into Pittsburgh right in the beginning of December. While this is typically when Philip Rivers gets hot, it is when Heinz Field gets cold. December 2, 2017, was in the high 30’s to low 40’s at what would be game time.