Los Angeles Chargers: Where will the team fall apart in 2018?

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A general view of empty seats during the first half of a game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Miami Dolphins at StubHub Center on September 17, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: A general view of empty seats during the first half of a game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Miami Dolphins at StubHub Center on September 17, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Chargers finish every season with disappointing losses for unbelievable reasons. What will happen to them in 2018?

Full disclaimer: I’m a big-time Los Angeles Chargers fan who thinks this team is making the postseason with at least 10 wins in 2018. Yet, if you’re truly a fan of the Bolts, you’re accustomed to heartbreak and heartache season after season.

Why? Because the Chargers always find a way to mess it up somewhere when expectations are high. Whether due to under-performing, losing to lesser teams, or untimely injury, the team finds a way once or twice a year to give the season away. After all, rival teams don’t call them the “Super Chokers” for no reason.

Last year, there were a number of times where the team fell apart; two losses to begin the season due to kicking issues, losing to the Jaguars after intercepting Blake Bortles with under two minutes to go, and crashing and burning against the Kansas City Chiefs to miss the playoffs. It is my duty today to project where those potential shortcomings may lie in 2018.

I’m very optimistic regarding this season, but if I had to guess where the team crumbles, it’s here:

The Chargers defensive backs surrender 300 yards and three touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes Week 1, starting the season 0-1

Wouldn’t that be something? The Bolts have four top-15 corners in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Trevor Williams and Desmond King, along with Derwin James and a solid top-20 safety in Jahleel Addae, and Mahomes walks in and torches the Chargers. Do I think it will happen? Probably not.

But stranger things have happened and the Chargers have under-performed countless times in recent memory. The problem with facing a guy like Mahomes is that the Chargers won’t be completely sure what to expect from him. He’s never played a full season, but when he gets game action, boy does he look good. Will the Chargers defense be enough?

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History tells me this is a game the Bolts will lose. Let’s take a look at Week 1 from the last few seasons:

  • 2013: Fourth quarter loss to the Houston Texans
  • 2014: Fourth quarter loss to the Arizona Cardinals
  • 2015: Come from behind victory against the Detroit Lions
  • 2016: Overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs
  • 2017: Botched field goal for a fourth quarter loss to the Denver Broncos

Those aren’t great results, and something tells me despite all the glowing optimism surrounding the Chargers, Week 1 is ends up being another one of those disappointing losses.

The ramifications: Chaos in the fan base and the locker room. A team that believed in itself suddenly fears their best team in years can’t even beat their divisional rival, now for the 9th time in a row. We’ve seen the Bolts bounce back from early losses, but getting torched at home opening weekend might send the team spiraling. Many fans will turn away from the team, citing the “same old” Chargers mantra they’ve been carrying for years.

The Cleveland Browns beat the Bolts Week 6

We can’t act like this has never happened before. Once, in 2015, the Chargers barely squeaked out a win in a 30-27 shootout with Josh McCown and the Browns. They only came away with the winning field goal because a Browns player was offside on the attempt then-kicker Josh Lambo missed. In 2016, the winless Browns beat the Chargers to get what is now their only win in the past two seasons.

The team as made some solid acquisitions this off-season, and should be more of a deadly threat than the team that fell to the Bolts 10-19 last year. With big names like Jarvis Landry, Baker “Won’t Read the Chargers’ Playbook” Mayfield and Denzel Ward added to the roster, this team has a fighting chance.

The consequences: It depends on how the Chargers have done up until this Week 6 matchup. If the team falls to 5-1, it’s disappointing but not season-ending. If they fall to 3-3 (two other losses to the Chiefs and Rams), the season is over. If the latter is the case, then Anthony Lynn is not the guy for the job and, depending on performance, Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley would also be on the hot seat. Fan attendance would be even worse moving forward (if that’s possible).

Philip Rivers is lost for the season due to injury

If this happens, my goodness, am I sorry for jinxing it. Rivers has been an NFL iron man his entire career, but if there were going to be one unfortunate incident that would throw the season off the rails, this would be it.

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The Chargers enter the season with the most talented defense in the NFL and, if the offensive line holds true to expectations, quite possibly the most dominant offensive force in the league. The kicking game looks to be fixed, the schedule isn’t too difficult, and the Bolts are primed for a big run. Wouldn’t it be some kind of poetic tragedy to lose Rivers then? Something happens every year to the Bolts, and losing the face of the franchise when the franchise itself finally is up to par with its future Hall of Fame quarterback would just be the most “Chargers” thing that could happen.

What happens: Chargers maybe win two games without him. Fans cry, the stadium catches fire, and it rains for eight weeks. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!