While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Los Angeles Chargers.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Los Angeles put together a decent season in 2021 under first-year head coach Brandon Staley and went into Week 18 with a chance to play their way into the postseason. However, they lost to their division rival Raiders 32-35 in overtime, bringing their season to a disappointing end.
L.A.'s offense was pretty explosive last year, particularly in the pass game, putting up 30-plus points in 7 of their 17 games. While the defense was bottom-tier in terms of points allowed, ironically, many of the Chargers' losses came when the offense failed to show up. They'll look to improve in consistency on both sides of the ball in 2022.
Significant Roster Moves
The Chargers lost a few key guys on defense from last year, most notably CB Chris Harris, Jr., LB Uchenna Nwosu, and S Kyzir White. However, they did a great job filling those holes in free agency, picking up CBs Bryce Callahan and J.C. Jackson, and LBs Khalil Mack and Kyle Van Noy. Mack, especially, is going to be a monster addition to a defense loaded with talent that is seemingly close to putting it all together.
TE Gerald Everett joins the offense to replace the exits of Stephen Anderson and Jared Cook, but there wasn't much at all to replace on the offensive side of the ball.
2022 Draft Class
The Chargers had eight selections in the 2022 draft, where they added much needed depth on the O-line, in the secondary, and in the backfield. First round pick Zion Johnson will be an immediate starter at guard, while the remaining picks will start as backups with potential to move into starting roles as the season progresses. Isaiah Spiller should be a nice complement to Austin Ekeler at running back.
The Chargers will take on the AFC South and the NFC West to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, and Miami Dolphins. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .519, Los Angeles has the 10th hardest schedule in the NFL.
L.A.'s primetime games include a Thursday night game at Kansas City, two Sunday night games at San Francisco and versus the Los Angeles Rams, and two Monday night games versus Denver and at Indianapolis.
The Chargers return 16 of their 22 starters, roughly on par with the other teams in the league. The offense is going to be more or less the same guys at the skill positions, led by Justin Herbert, who is entering his third NFL season.
While some new players are being plugged in on defense, it's safe to assume they will fit in nicely and help improve upon the defense of a season ago.
Brandon Staley enters his second season as head coach of the Chargers. Ryan Ficken was hired in the offseason to become the new special teams coordinator, while the other two coordinators return for their second seasons along with Staley.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for the Chargers at 10 games. As of right now, Los Angeles is the second most likely team to win the AFC West and the third most likely team to win the AFC as a whole. At +1400 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are 6th among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
I'm expecting a big season out of Justin Herbert and the Chargers. They've looked really good at many times over the last two seasons but just haven't quite been able to put it all together thus far. But with a more experienced Herbert and better pieces on defense, this should be their year to take the next step.
Still, I'm projecting the Chargers to finish in 2nd place in the AFC West behind Kansas City, though that could very well play out differently when we see how the Chiefs fare without Tyreek Hill in the offense. Regardless, I'd almost bet on L.A. as a lock to make the playoffs as either a division champ or a wild card team.
What do you think? Will Los Angeles be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Chargers surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.