The Los Angeles Chargers are known for slow starts and quick recoveries. This time, the Chargers started the season off on the right foot and will ride that momentum.
The Los Angeles Chargers, even when making the postseason, have typically been plagued by slow starts. Before the start of the 2018-2019 NFL season, some may have thought that the Chargers were in for yet another slow start.
At first, it seemed that way. The Chargers dropped two of the first three games. To be fair, both of the team’s losses came against the NFL’s only 5-0 teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
However, a slow start, no matter who the team played, still would have put the Chargers in pursuit of catching up to the rest of the pack the rest of the season. Winning in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers was crucial; entering Week 3, it looked like a big challenge.
Then the Chargers caught a bit of a break as Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL and the Chargers faced a C.J. Beathard-led 49ers team. Los Angeles played pretty poorly as well, allowing the 49ers to hold a two-possession lead and only winning the contest by two points.
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But still, the Chargers started the first quarter of the season with a 2-2 record. While not great, this was a breath of fresh air for Charger fans. The team started last season with four losses in the first four weeks and have not won two of the first four games since 2015.
With a 26-10 win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 5 to move to 3-2 on the season, the Los Angeles Chargers have now hit the point of the year where the team will be in complete stride and begin to separate themselves from the playoff pretenders of the AFC.
If everything goes to plan, the Chargers could stretch this current two-game winning streak as far out to eight games.
At that point, the Chargers would be 9-3, would be a lock for the playoffs and could be just a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
Next week the Chargers take on the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been in every single game, mostly due to the defense which has staggered opposing teams and slowed the game down.
However, the Browns ultimately did lose to the Oakland Raiders, a team that the Chargers easily handled. If the Chargers defense can play as it did against the Raiders, Philip Rivers‘ veteran decision-making will take over and the Chargers should be able to comfortably win a 20-10 game.
The following two weeks the Chargers play the Tennessee Titans in London and the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. Both teams have shown that they have stayed in most of every game played and should give the Chargers a tough matchup. However, talent-wise, the Chargers are just too loaded to fall to either team, which lacks a ton of weapons.
Then there are two division matchups against the Raiders, which LA just mauled and the Denver Broncos, who may only be slightly better than the Raiders. If the Chargers don’t make any huge mistakes, that should be two comfortable wins.
Finally, to round off the eight-game winning streak, the Chargers play one of the worst teams in football in the Arizona Cardinals. By that time, Joey Bosa should be back. As long as the defense stays mostly healthy, the Cardinals shouldn’t be able to score more than 14 points.
That puts LA at 9-3 before a tough stretch. The team heads to Heinz Field to face the Steelers in December, which always is a challenge. Then the Chargers have three straight games against likely playoff contenders in the Bengals, Chiefs and Ravens before finishing the year in Denver.
Even if the Chargers can only win two of these games, that puts the team at 11-5 for the season, which is more than enough for a postseason spot.
The Los Angeles Chargers could finish the last quarter of the season in the same way that the team started the season. It will be the long winning streak in the middle of the season that really makes the difference.