After opening up the 2018 season with a mark of 1-2, there were plenty of questions surrounding the Los Angeles Chargers. Let’s just say that they answered the bell, and then some. For the remainder of the regular season, the club would lose just two more games.
Along the way, the team would rip off a six- and a four-game winning streak. The club would pick up a number of big road wins during the season, including over the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs.
The team wouldn’t lose back-to-back games once during the year, but a crucial home loss late in the season prevented the team from taking down the AFC West. The Baltimore Ravens came to town in Week 16 and walked away with a 22-10 victory.
Los Angeles would bounce back with a 23-9 road win over the Denver Broncos in the regular season finale. The team finished up with a mark of 12-4, which was good enough for a Wild Card berth. The reward was a trip to Baltimore for a rematch with the Ravens.
This game turned out vastly different as the Chargers controlled it throughout. The Ravens made a run at the end, but the outcome was never in doubt as the Chargers won by a score of 23-17 to advance to the Divisional Round.
That translated into a trip to Foxboro to face off with the Patriots. Entering last year’s playoffs, the Patriots weren’t getting an awful lot of respect. That turned out to be a mistake. New England was more than ready to prove they weren’t done just yet as they rolled to a 41-28 victory.
In the aftermath of the disappointing end to the year, there has been plenty of chatter that the Chargers may have missed their Super Bowl window. As the oddsmakers see it, Los Angeles is the second choice to win the division, behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
So what will the 2019 campaign bring for the Chargers? A big step forward or a leap backwards? Let’s take a look and find out.
Los Angeles Chargers 2018 Season Recap
Record: 12-4 | Standings: 2-AFC West | Lost Divisional Playoffs
The Chargers opened up the year with a home date versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes put on a show, throwing for four scores to lead the visitors to a 38-28 win. The following week, Los Angeles traveled to Buffalo and exited with a 31-20 win.
Week 3 would bring a showdown with the host Los Angeles Rams. The Rams took control of the game early and held on for the 35-23 win. At 1-2, the season hadn’t opened up quite as the Chargers had anticipated. That would change in big league fashion.
The team would rip off four straight wins heading into the Week 8 bye, with two of the victories coming by double digits. After the week off, another pair of victories would follow with both of them coming on the road.
The six-game winning streak was stopped with a 23-22 home loss to the Denver Broncos. Los Angeles got right back to its winning ways the following week and proceeded to win another four games in a row, including a one-point road victory over the Chiefs.
The Chargers were still alive for the division crown when the Ravens came to town in Week 16, but they would fall by a score of 22-10 after an impressive defensive performance by the visitors. The club would close out the year with a road victory over the Broncos to finish up at 12-4.
Wild Card Weekend would bring a trip to Baltimore, but this time it was the Chargers who controlled the action with a 23-17 victory which wasn’t as close as the score suggested. The season would come to an end the following week when the Chargers were shellacked by the Patriots in Foxboro.
Los Angeles wrapped up the year tied for 6th in the league in average points scored per game. On defense, the club ranked 8th for fewest points allowed per contest.
Los Angeles Chargers Offseason Moves
The band has stayed together in Los Angeles. Anthony Lynn returns for his third season as head coach. Ken Whisenhunt will be back to lead the offense, while Gus Bradley remains on board as defensive coordinator.
In the first-round of the NFL Draft, the club selected Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery. Round two would bring CB Nassir Adderley out of Delaware, while Sioux Falls OT Trey Pipkins was the choice in round three. Later round selections include LB Drue Tranquill out of Notre Dame.
Philip Rivers returns behind center, and he’ll have plenty of weapons at his disposal. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, and Keenan Allen top the wideout depth chart, while Hunter Henry will see plenty of targets at tight end.
Melvin Gordon and the team are haggling over money, and a holdout appears imminent. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are the next names on the RB depth chart. The defense was solid in 2018, and that should continue this year after several tweaks via the draft and free agency.
Los Angeles Chargers 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||vs. Indianapolis Colts||4:05 PM||CBS|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||at Detroit Lions||1:00 PM||CBS|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. Houston Texans||4:25 PM||CBS|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||at Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM||CBS|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||vs. Denver Broncos||4:05 PM||CBS|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||8:20 PM||NBC|
|7||Thu. Oct.17||at Tennessee Titans||4:05 PM||CBS|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||at Chicago Bears||1:00 PM||FOX|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||vs. Green Bay Packers||4:25 PM||CBS|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||at Oakland Raiders||8:20 PM||Fox|
|11||Mon. Nov.18||vs. Kansas City Chiefs*||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||at Denver Broncos||4:25 PM||CBS|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||at Jacksonville Jaguars||4:05 PM||FOX|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||vs. Minnesota Vikings||8:20 PM||NBC|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||vs. Oakland Raiders||TBD||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||at Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 PM||CBS|
*Game to be played in Mexico City
Right off the bat, the Chargers face off with another club with postseason ambitions when the Colts come to town. Los Angeles has a Week 12 bye this year, and there are a number of tough obstacles to overcome along the way.
First half schedule highlights include home games with the Steelers and Packers, a trip to visit the Bears, and a Mexico City game with the Chiefs. Following the week off, the Chargers wrap up the year with three of their final five games on the road.
The season finale will be in Kansas City versus the Chiefs, and that one could very well decide the division.
Los Angeles Chargers 2019 Outlook
The Chiefs and Chargers are considered the class of the AFC West, while both the Broncos and Raiders have work to do. Los Angeles also loses a home game for the neutral site affair with the Chiefs. Four wins should be expected versus divisional foes, while five isn’t out of the question.
The remaining AFC schedule brings home dates with the Colts, Texans, and Steelers. The Chargers will be on the road for games with the Dolphins, Titans, and Jaguars. There’s a lot of tough games here, but the Chargers are certainly talented enough to win four of them.
On the interconference side, the Chargers will be matched up with the NFC North. They’re on the road for the Lions and Bears, and home for the Packers and Vikings. This is another challenging stretch of games, but Los Angeles should at least be able to pull out two wins.
Los Angeles Chargers 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the benchmark has been set for the Chargers in 2019. It’s a step down from last year’s 12-win campaign, but remember that this team is widely expected to contend for a playoff berth. They’re capable of making some noise once they get there too, but anything less than the postseason will have to be considered a big disappointment.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
There are no prizes for 5th place in the NFL, but it’s arguable that the Chargers were the best team in 2018 to not make it to the conference championship round. Have they missed out on a big opportunity?
We lean to the side which says that they haven’t, but the window is definitely closing. Rivers still looks great, but the proverbial wall could come up out of nowhere at anytime. He has plenty of weapons to lean on, but the Gordon situation bears watching.
The defense was solid last year, and we may even be able to expect some improvement this time around due to new editions. Add it all up, and Los Angeles is at least a 10-win team. That places us on the Over for the Chargers in 2019.