2018 Los Angeles Chargers Top AFC West Rankings

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TwinSpires Staff

August 6th, 2018

by DS Williamson
The 2018 Los Angeles Chargers are hot. More than a few NFL future bettors have proclaimed that they love the Bolts to win the 2019 Super Bowl. Even though L.A. fans have adopted the Rams as the home team, the Chargers have gotten plenty of attention. That’s what happens when you win 9 of your final 12 regular season games the year before. Is the attention warranted? Should the Chargers be the favorites to win the AFC West?

Late season wins…legit or a mirage? The real question is whether or not the Chargers we witnessed last season were for real or not. If the wins were legitimate, the Bolts deserve to be the AFC West favorites. If they weren’t, the Bolts probably don’t deserve to be the AFC West favorites.

The Chargers beat the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Washington, New York Jets, and Oakland again. That’s 9 wins versus 8 non-playoff teams with Buffalo barely getting to the playoffs last season.

Sort of looks like a mirage, but, here’s the thing: the Bolts should have beaten Jacksonville in Week 10. They also probably should have beaten New England in Week 8.

Balanced (but misguided) offense must find identity Gone is TE Antonio Gates. The man counted on to replace Gates at tight-end, Hunter Henry, got injured in May. Henry is out for the season.

That means Philip Rivers must again throw the football to Keenan Allen. Allen is a great wide receiver. He caught 102 passes for 1,393 yards. He also caught 6 TD passes. The Pro Bowler should be a focal point of the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers. But Allen often ceded touches to the supposed backfield stud of the team during the 2017 campaign.

Melvin Gordon rushed for 1,105 yards. He also caught 58 passes last season. The versatile running back scored a combined 12 TDs. Great fantasy stats, but Gordon again averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry. I’m not sure why the Chargers continue to force feed Melvin Gordon.

Forced production becomes scary after a while. The Bolts won’t be brave enough to pull the trigger, but they should consider starting Austin Ekeler. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry his rookie season.

The defense should be for real The 2018 Los Angeles Chargers will be a force to be reckoned with defensively. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are both great at pressuring quarterbacks. The Chargers were absolutely gifted in the NFL Draft with defensive back Derwin James, who can play safety as well, and is known as a supreme run stopper. The fact that he fell to them is a choice that many NFL teams will regret.

LAC also used their next 4 draft picks on defensive players to ensure complete coverage in all areas, but their starting set is as competitive and blood thirsty as they come. The Chargers could have one of the best defenses in the AFC and the second best defense in the AFC West after Denver’s this season.

Fast start means a possible AFC West crown What will really help Rivers and company is that the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers have a great shot of not starting 0-4 SU again. This team should beat Kansas City at home in Week 1 before beating Buffalo on the road in Week 2.

So, they’ll at least be 2-0 SU before facing the Rams in Week 3 in what shakes up to be a potentially explosive, in-city rivalry. A hot start to the season could lead to an AFC West crown, just like the oddsmakers are predicting. The Bolts match up well with every team on their schedule and they don't play New England, Houston, or Jacksonville this season.

Things could be looking up for the "B team" in Los Angeles.