For the first time in about 15 years, the Los Angeles Chargers (who were then based in San Diego) have a legitimate chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Team executive Tom Telesco took what was a good team last year, at least on paper, and retooled it into a souped-up, greatly enhanced variation for this season.
The Bolts acquired Khalil Mack to give themselves another high-level pass rusher to go along with Joey Bosa, while Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson was added to bolster the secondary.
When a team is sincerely aiming to win a world championship, every game, every quarter and every play matters, and attention to detail must be a priority.
That is especially true in the NFL, where each game carries much more weight than in Major League Baseball or the NBA.
The Chargers will have a tough schedule to start this season, and it all begins with a grudge match versus the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
"They're going against a VICIOUS defensive front, that front seven is one of the best in the league"@WillieMcGinest thinks the @Raiders might have their work cut out for them against the @chargers defense 😤 pic.twitter.com/0Hg9xIwcoH
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) September 5, 2022
If they lose to their longtime division rivals, it won’t exactly be a death knell, but it will make their task of winning the AFC West or simply getting a playoff spot that much tougher.
Getting Off To A Good Start Is Of Utmost Importance
After Week 1, Los Angeles will travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs don’t have star wide receiver Tyreek Hill anymore, but many are still picking them to finish first in the division.
My AFC West Predictions:#Chiefs 12-5#Chargers 11-6#Broncos 9-8#Raiders 8-9
— Rob Collins (@RCFOX4KC) September 8, 2022
There seems to be a consensus that defeating Kansas City will be tougher than getting a win against the Raiders.
L.A. hasn’t had a ton of success versus the Chiefs in Kansas City in recent years, and last year in Week 15, they suffered a heart-wrenching overtime loss to Mahomes and company on the road.
If the Chargers lose to the Raiders on Sunday, it could very well set the scene for another loss in Week 2, especially if Jackson misses both games (he is listed as doubtful for Week 1 after undergoing ankle surgery).
An 0-2 start would create a lot of anxiety throughout Southern California for the Bolts’ chances the rest of the way.
A Loss To The Raiders Could Complicate The Playoff Picture
The AFC West is the toughest division anyone can ever remember seeing, and the conference as a whole has a ridiculous and impressive amount of talent and depth this year.
It could cause multiple teams that win at least 10 games to miss the playoffs.
This type of situation makes it imperative that the Chargers do whatever they can to earn the tiebreaker over the Raiders, as well as the Chiefs, should a playoff spot come down to that.
L.A. will play both teams one more time later this season, but it shouldn’t be content to finish with a tie in head-to-head matchups against them.
The Bolts have to attack early and send a statement that they will be the new team to beat in the AFC.NEXT: Chargers Will Likely Be Without Two Key Players Vs. Raiders