LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
2016 Record - 5-11-0
Head Coach - Anthony Lynn
Offensive Rank - 14th (357 yards per game, 25.6 points scored per game)
Defensive Rank - 16th (347 yards allowed per game, 26.4 points allowed per game)
Philip Rivers is back once again at quarterback (after all the off-season trade rumors) and will lead the offense. Rivers passed for 33 touchdowns last season but also threw 21 interceptions, along with 4,386 yards. Backing him up will be Kellen Clemens or Cardale Jones, who was brought in via trade from Buffalo.
Melvin Gordon leads the running game this season after just missing 1,000 yards rushing a year ago. Gordon also scored 12 touchdowns, including ten on the ground. Replacing versatile running back Danny Woodhead (free agent departure) won't be easy, but Branden Oliver and Kenjon Barner will be ready to go in that role this season.
The wide receivers include Dontrelle Inman (58 receptions, 810 yards, four TD), Travis Benjamin (47, 677, four TD) and rookie Mike Williams (Clemson). Having Keenan Allen for a full season would be a big boost to the passing game. Allen, a favorite target of Rivers, has missed numerous games for the past two seasons.
Tight end Antonio Gates is entering his 15th NFL season and caught 53 passes for 548 yards and seven scores a year ago. Hunter Henry is the tight end of the future for the Chargers and caught eight touchdown passes last season.
Joey Bosa will be relied upon once again on defense after leading the team with 10 1/2 QB sacks. Along with Bosa will be Melvin Ingram, who had eight sacks. The secondary features two solid players in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward, who led the NFL with seven interceptions last year.
OUTLOOK FOR 2017 - The Los Angeles Chargers - doesn't quite sound right, does it?
However, the big question is how the team will do in the first season in their new place after the move from San Diego.
Rivers is the key man once again and MUST cut down on the turnovers (21 picks) that also included 14 team fumbles lost. Along with defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter, those turnovers led the way to the team blowing six late-game leads. Overall, the 'Bolts were a minus-7 in the turnover ratio.
New Head Coach Anthony Lynn brings with him a no nonsense approach and will expect improvement on both sides of the football.
The defense was pretty good against the run a year ago, but struggled mightily against the pass, allowing 249 yards per game, even though they were tied for a league leading 18 interceptions.
Too many times the defense couldn't get it done in crunch time or a costly turnover happened and the team suffered another double-digit loss season as a result. For that to change, they need to play disciplined football, especially against their division foes in the rugged AFC West.
There is a chance for a turnaround season in 2017, but again it depends on holding onto the football and the defense coming up big in the fourth quarter. A 7-9 finish is the most likely scenario for the Chargers this year as they get accustomed to being in Los Angeles after 50-plus seasons in San Diego.
Week One - at Denver
Week Two - vs. Miami
Week Three - vs. Kansas City
Week Four - vs. Philadelphia
Week Five - at NY Giants
Week Six - at Oakland
Week Seven - vs. Denver
Week Eight - at New England
Week Nine - BYE
Week Ten - at Jacksonville
Week Eleven - vs. Buffalo
Week Twelve - at Dallas
Week Thirteen - vs. Cleveland
Week Fourteen - vs. Washington
Week Fifteen - at Kansas City
Week Sixteen - at NY Jets
Week Seventeen - vs. Oakland