As the Los Angeles Chargers prepare to move into their multi-billion dollar stadium, they’ll do it without the guy who helped paved the way to get there. For the first time since the final game of the 2005 season, the Bolts will have someone other than Philip Rivers starting at quarterback. It’s the end of one era and the beginning of another for the Bolts. After winning just five games last season, the win total of eight might seem high, especially for a club breaking in a new QB. The Bolts had chances to be much better, but going 2-9 in games decided by seven points or less was crippling. It shows they aren’t far off.
Chargers Over 8 Wins -105
Chargers Under 8 Wins -115
With Rivers leading the way success was sparse over the last decade. The Bolts failed to win an AFC West title and reached the postseason just twice during that span, getting bounced in the divisional round both times. Based on his numbers and longevity Rivers is certainly Hall of Fame worthy. If you factor in team success the vote isn’t as easy. Rivers never led the Chargers to a Super Bowl and played in just one AFC Championship game.
So let’s not feel bad for Rivers and the Chargers. It was time for the Bolts to move on and they got their guy in Justin Herbert. Tyrod Taylor likely gets the gig at the beginning of the season keeping the seat warm. Taylor has experience in this type of situation. He was the starter in Cleveland in 2018 before Baker Mayfield took over. That doesn’t make the situation any easier for Taylor, but he can handle it.
There are playmakers in the passing game to make the transition easier. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are threats, and tight end Hunter Henry is a stud. The running game stumbled to 28th with Melvin Gordon holding out for the first quarter of the campaign. Things didn’t work out and Gordon left for Denver. That leaves Austin Ekeler handling a majority of the snaps. The Bolts were a few plays away from being .500 or better last year. They sucked in close encounters dropping nine by seven points or less. They also had a league-low 14 takeaways and a league-worst minus-17 turnover margin. Improvement in those areas increases the win total.
2020 Los Angeles Chargers Schedule
Week 1: Chargers at Bengals, Sunday, September 13, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 2: Chiefs at Chargers, Sunday, September 20, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 3: Panthers at Chargers, Sunday, September 27, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 4: Chargers at Buccaneers, Sunday, October 4, 1 p.m. ET
Week 5: Chargers at Saints, Monday, October 12, 8:15 p.m. ET
Week 6: Jets at Chargers, Sunday, October 18, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 7: Chargers at Dolphins, Sunday, October 25, 1 p.m. ET
Week 8: Jaguars at Chargers, Sunday, November 1, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 9: Raiders at Chargers, Sunday, November 8, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Chargers at Broncos, Sunday, November 22, 4:05 p.m. ET
Week 12: Chargers at Bills, Sunday, November 29, 1 p.m. ET
Week 13: Patriots at Chargers, Sunday, December 6, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 14: Falcons at Chargers, Sunday, December 13, 4:25 p.m. ET
Week 15: Chargers at Raiders, Thursday, December 17, 8:20 p.m. ET
Week 16: Broncos at Chargers, Saturday/Sunday, December 26/27, TBA
Week 17: Chargers at Chiefs, Sunday, January 3, 1 p.m. ET
2020 Los Angeles Chargers Schedule Analysis
If the league goes through with its plan to play in empty stadiums that would be an advantage for the Bolts, who felt they were playing on the road in every game at the shoe box known as StubHub and then something else. We don’t have to worry about the name now with the Chargers moving into their new shared stadium with the Rams. Unfortunately that means more opposing fans in the stands since the Bolts have yet to make a mark in the LA area.
The Chargers play a schedule that will allow them to surpass their win total. They open in Cincinnati before two straight at SoFi. Following back-to-back road games against Tampa Bay and New Orleans, four winnable matchups with the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars and Raiders close out the first half. How they perform against the division will make or break this wager. Games at Las Vegas, against Denver and at Kansas City close the slate.
The Final Verdict
Unlike other teams in the NFL the Chargers were much better than their record. The things that brought them down in 2019 are fixable and they got a nice haul in the draft. Taylor is a decent QB and his mobility will take pressure off the line. There is plenty of talent on both sides of the football and minus debilitating injuries the Bolts should get at least eight victories.
NFL Odds: Los Angeles Chargers Over 8 Wins
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