It’s pretty refreshing to think the Los Angeles Chargers, seemingly always that “other” team in the AFC West, are in an excellent position to seize the divisional crown this season.
L.A. regularly suffers from the injury bug, and this year has been no exception. Starting cornerback Jason Verrett went down with a season-ending Achilles injury, and tight end Hunter Henry suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.
So it goes for the Chargers.
Still, there’s more than enough to like on defense. Especially when L.A. has arguably the best one-two outside pass-rushing tandem in EDGEs Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Those two could propel the Chargers into the playoffs alone. And with rookie defensive back Derwin James starting to look sharp, the Chargers have various levels of effectiveness on that side of the ball.
A lot of Los Angeles’ hopes, however, will hinge on whether or not quarterback Philip Rivers looks more like his 2017 self instead of the turnover-prone version we saw in 2016.
If Rivers can protect the ball, and his receiving targets stay moderately healthy, the Chargers wind up being one of the most well-balanced teams in the conference this season.