The 2017 season starts on Monday night football against division rival Denver Broncos for the new city Los Angles Chargers. With the opening game getting closer by the minute, it’s time for my season preview. Key additions plus losses will impact this team in either positive or negative ways. The team will have impactful players that weren’t there a year ago and like every team in any sport at any level, the team will have strengths and weaknesses. All of this and predictions of final record and much more is what you’ll be reading about today.
Key Additions and Losses:
This offseason the Chargers didn’t loose anyone big from the past season. I say this because Danny Woodhead, who was a big time player and leader for the team, was injured for all but one game this past season. One major thing we did lose was fans… we lost tons of fans due to our move to LA. I will talk more about the impact of this later. Other than Woodhead and the hundreds of fans, no big losses occurred for this team, which is a good thing for a team wanting to compete.
Every fan wants their team to sign the big name player during the offseason or draft the number one overall graded player in the draft. While this is possible for very few teams, the rest of the league is left to sign and draft players who still may be big time players, but either aged (free agency) or ones with red-flags (draft) that could predict their impact on an NFL team. Additions to the Chargers this season was Russell Okung, Keenan Allen (injury), and Tre Boston. The 2017 draft class including: Mike Williams, Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeny, Rayshawn Jenkins, Desmond King, San Tevi, and Isaac Rochell.
There are a few players that I’m predicting will be the most impactful that are new to a Chargers jersey. There players are Tre Boston, Russell Okung, Dan Feeny and Desmond King. After the release of Dwight Lowry, I see Boston getting plenty of reps in at safety. He could potentially be this year’s “Casey Hayward”, an underrated signing that pays off big in season. Okung will be an upgrade, but really anyone would be an upgrade on a woeful line from a year ago. Dan Feeny will offer a mean streak in our line that will improve an already elite run game. One of my favorite players in college football and now on the LA Chargers is Desmond King. This man is a ball hawk and I predict him to slide into a starting role sooner rather than later. He had a strong showing in preseason and he is my pick for the team’s rookie of the year.
Like many fans after the off-season, I did not see any weaknesses on my favorite team. After a closer look and a realization I thought of multiple. Safety position is a weakness until proven otherwise. Multiple players look to change that, but nothing is set in stone as of now. Home field advantage will be a huge weakness due to a new home to the Chargers that seats less than nearly all college stadiums. The stadium and loss of fans will impact us when playing at home. Another weakness will be offensive line play. Although upgraded from last year, this line still looks to be below average with average upside. I still believe it is enough to boost our run game, which brings me to the strengths.
I believe this offense can be one of the most explosive in the league. With a strong running game and receivers that can run precise routes and ones that can burn it deep, I don’t see many being capable of stopping this Rivers led offense. Behind Gordon, our backfield looks shaky. We get back 2015 fan favorite back, Branden Oliver from injury. Even with our former starter as a back up, our depth doesn’t look good. As long as Rivers is playing, QB will always be a strength. As well as tight end led by Antonio Gates and followed up with the second year phenom Hunter Henry. If healthy, CB can be a very big strength on our defense that is led by one of the best pass rush duos in Bosa and Ingram. Linebacker depth can hurt us, but our starters will be an advantage over most teams.
For the final record I predict a modest 9-7. I say we split with every division foe, except the division winning Raiders. The other four losses will come at the helm of the Patriots, Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. All of these are good loses, which sounds weird, but we have a tough schedule and mustering out 9 wins will be promising enough for me. Phillip Rivers will take MVP (team) while Melvin Gordon is offensive player of the year (team). On the defensive side of the ball Joey Bosa takes home NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Desmond King will be rookie of the year for the team. Pro bowlers will include the following: Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, Jason Verrett, and Joey Bosa.
This season will be exciting for fans and we could see a play off appearance if the team stays healthy and doesn’t give up close games in the final minutes. These are my honest predictions and what I expect to happen if the team stays healthy. We are very familiar with injuries and could be set back if one occurs. Bolder predictions have been spoken before and this team has the talent to break my simple predictions and other bold predictions.
Photo Credits: USA Today