Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 12 through Sept. 2, we will take a look at the projected win totals for each team in the NFL, running one division per week for eight weeks.
NOTE: All over/under win totals are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
2021 record: 9-8, third in AFC West; did not make playoffs
2022 bye week: 8
Most impactful additions: LB Khalil Mack, DB JC Jackson, RB Isaiah Spiller (fourth-round pick), TE Gerald Everett, G Zion Johnson (first round of draft)
Most impactful departures: TE Jared Cook, LB Kyzir White
Easiest part(s) of schedule: Weeks 3 through 9 have to be when this team makes its run if it is going to make the playoffs for the first time in four years.
Home games against Jacksonville, Denver and Seattle with three road games during that stretch at Houston in Week 4, at Cleveland in Week 5 and at Atlanta in Week 9 could prove beneficial if they can go at least 4-2. (But 5-1 would be much better.)
Toughest part(s) of schedule: From Nov. 13 on, the Chargers face just one team that finished with a losing record last season, and that is in the regular-season finale at the Denver Broncos, who should be much improved. Many of those games are on the road, including two at NFC West foes, San Francisco (on a Sunday night) and at Arizona.
The Chargers also will face Tennessee, travel to Indianapolis and host the Rams (on New Year’s night) in three of the final four games.
Caesars over/under win total: 10 – Over -130 / Under +110; Odds to win Super Bowl LVII +1500
Book it: UNDER. I realize this team is everyone’s darling in the AFC West to win the division this season and take the next step in their advancement, but I am not a fan of how Brandon Staley calls games or his decision making, and I think the back half of the schedule could present major problems.
Justin Herbert soon will be a top-5 quarterback in this league – if he isn’t there already – and he has enough weapons with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and running back Austin Ekeler, who can catch passes out of the backfield.
And even though they have improved their 23rd-ranked defense with help in the backfield in the form of JC Jackson, I am not sure it is enough in a division that is loaded at quarterback like no other.
They proved me wrong last year and maybe they’ll do it again. But I see no value anywhere with this team, and I won’t be betting them – over, under or playoffs.
Projected finish: 8-9
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