49ers schedule 2022: Toughest defense No. 4, Los Angeles Chargers
Yes, another AFC West team that underwent a serious arms race to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
The Los Angeles Chargers did their own massive stockpiling, adding the best free-agent cornerback on the market, former New England Patriots defensive back J.C. Jackson, whose 17 interceptions and whopping 37 pass breakups over the last two seasons combined will make a huge difference in how this particular division shapes up in 2021.
On top of that, the Bolts going out and trading for former Chicago Bears EDGE Khalil Mack gives them a legitimate No. 2 pass-rusher opposite Joey Bosa.
On paper, and even with these additions, Los Angeles should be in line to be a top-five defense in 2022. Even last year, though, the Chargers were at least expected to contend for the top 10, especially with first-year head coach Brandon Staley, a defensive mastermind, at the help.
At times, there were flashes. Yet LA still fumbled and follied, defensively, to a tie for the league’s third-worst scoring offense, allowing a whopping 459 points, which was equal to the lowly Atlanta Falcons.
The Chargers got infinitely better with Jackson and Mack in the mix, yes. But they and Staley will actually need to prove it to rise higher on this list and pose a bigger defensive threat to San Francisco in this particular home matchup for the red and gold.