Los Angeles Chargers NFL Season Preview: Can they succeed in the AFC West?

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Tyler Monahan
Tyler Monahan is a recent graduate of Montclair State University where he majored in Communication and Media. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan Tyler began writing for several Philadelphia blogs in the past few years mainly covering the Philadelphia 76ers. You can follow Tyler on Twitter @TMon_19 for all of his picks as well as his other random sports takes.

Tyler Monahan previews a new beginning for the Chargers, as they hope to adjust to life in a new stadium and without their longtime franchise quarterback Philip Rivers.

It is going to be an interesting season for all teams in the NFL due to the coronavirus pandemic, but one team that is going to have a bit more to adjust to is the Los Angeles Chargers. One of the teams focused on by HBO for the new season of “Hard Knocks”, the Chargers will be playing in a new stadium with a roster undergoing a major overhaul, it will be intriguing to see how coach Anthony Lynn gets his new group of players to buy in to his system once the season starts.

Offense

One of the biggest moves this offseason was the Chargers deciding to part ways with their longtime franchise quarterback Philip Rivers who signed with the Indianapolis Colts. While his play had been on the decline the last few years it was still a way for the Chargers to say they aren’t super focused on winning games this season. The rest of the roster as constructed is still solid, but now with veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor running the offense the question is if his stop in Los Angeles will be any different than his time on any of his other teams. In the first round of the draft the Chargers took the future of the position in Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, he won’t be starting week one but it is only a matter of time before he gets playing time.

The Chargers also lost starting running back Melvin Gordon this offseason to the division rival Denver Broncos. Running back Austin Ekeler had a significant role last season but now he will be the man in charge. He can run between the tackles and catch out of the backfield and with all of the weapons on the outside like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry, defenses won’t key in on Ekeler. Even with the questions surrounding the quarterback position the rest of the offensive unit should be able to pull their weight.

Defense

Several of the biggest names in the sport find themselves on the Chargers defense. Star defensive end Joey Bosa is one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL and he will be a cog in the Chargers defensive line for the foreseeable future after signing a five year $135 million extension. Joining Bosa on the defensive line is Melvin Ingram who had his contract restructured so his entire salary is now guaranteed. With both Bosa and Ingram hunting quarterbacks the secondary might have an easier time.

All things aren’t perfect in Los Angeles though, one of the brightest young stars in football in safety Derwin James seems to have been lost for the season. Suffering a knee injury in practice, James will undergo surgery that will keep him out for six to eight months. Last year the Chargers were the fifth best defensive unit in the passing game, the loss of James is sure to hurt those numbers. As long as Los Angeles can keep the injury issues to a minimum the defense looks to be the strong point of the team and something they can heavily rely on.

Overview

The Chargers are a middle of the pack team this season. While the upside is there for this team there are also a lot of questions that will need to be answered before they really start to compete.

Los Angeles Chargers Picks

Pick 1: Chargers over 7.5 wins (-141 at DraftKings)

This season the Chargers have a pretty soft schedule. Besides having to go up against the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, their division isn’t super tough and one that has up to four very winnable games. Add in a few other games that look like the Chargers are overwhelming favorites and all of the sudden they are at least a .500 team.

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Pick 2: Austin Ekeler over 1350.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (-110 at DraftKings)

Austin Ekeler had 1550 all-purpose yards as a member of a committee. Now that Ekeler is the main man in the Chargers backfield he will get the lion’s share of the work with the underwhelming options of Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley as his only true competition. A threat in all facets of the game, Austin Ekeler could end up absolutely destroying the predictions set for him.

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