Best and worst case scenarios for 2022

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Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and catch a glimpse of the Los Angeles Chargers season prediction.

The Los Angeles Chargers are entering one of the most anticipated seasons ever after the front office issued a statement this offseason. With an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert on his rookie deal, Tom Telesco and co. decided to go all in and add more talent to the roster than he ever has before.

That makes the 2022 season an extremely compelling one for the Bolts as they get to contend in a very tough AFC West and an even tougher AFC.

With the 2022 season just around the corner and anticipation at an all-time high for the team, let’s dive into everything you need to know about the Chargers.

Los Angeles Chargers 2021 season in review

  • 9-8 entries
  • 3rd place in the AFC West
  • Did not qualify for the playoffs

The Chargers had the division in their hands last season, and a terrible defense kept the team from ultimately dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs as AFC West Champions. If the Chargers win the coin toss against Kansas City in Week 15 and don’t collapse afterward against Houston and Las Vegas, then they would have been AFC West Champions.

Even more frustrating is the fact that the team missed the playoffs after the epic Week 18 showdown against the Raiders. Justin Herbert set the world on fire that night, but it was the Bolts’ bottom-five defense that lost them the game.

Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft Class of 2022

  • Round 1: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
  • Round 3: JT Woods, S, Baylor
  • Round 4: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
  • Round 5: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
  • Round 6: Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
  • Round 6: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest
  • Round 7: Deane Leonard, BC, Mississippi
  • Round 7: Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

The Chargers continued their commitment to the offensive line in the 2022 NFL Draft by selecting arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the class in Zion Johnson. Johnson has impressed during training camp so far and looks poised to enter the league and at worst be an average right guard for the Bolts.

The rest of the draft class was about building depth in key areas. Brandon Staley favored athleticism in the secondary as he took three very athletic defensive backs in Woods, Taylor and Leonard. All three guys project to be cover corners as the Chargers hope to get their hands on them and mold them into complete pros.

Isaiah Spiller is the favorite for the RB2 job and provides key depth behind Austin Ekeler, while Otito Ogbonnia adds to the newfound defensive line rotation built to stop the run. Jamaree Salyer is a really promising interior offensive lineman who is currently only for depth, and Zander Horvath should be the favorite to beat out Gabe Nabers to start at fullback.

Fans shouldn’t expect this class to set the world on fire right away. In 2022, fans should expect these rookies to provide quality depth as they blossom toward bigger roles in the future.

Chargers offense preview for the 2022 season

  • Important off-season additions
    • Gerald Everett, TE
    • Zion Johnson, OG
    • DeAndre Carter, WR
    • Isaiah Spiller, RB
  • Biggest X-Factor: Austin Ekeler, RB
  • The squeakiest wheel: Right tackle

The Chargers had a top-five offense in the league last season, and fans could expect more of the same this year. While the team didn’t add any big names, the offense undoubtedly got better with a better tight end, more offensive line help and more weapons in Carter and Spiller.

Right tackle still isn’t great for the Chargers with Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton as the two options, but with so much talent around them, the Bolts can probably manage.

Justin Herbert is a legitimate MVP candidate, and as long as his weapons continue to play at a high level, the Chargers should be great. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams make up one of the best receiving duos in the league, while Josh Palmer is set for a big breakout in 2022.

Despite such a prominent passing game, Austin Ekeler is the biggest x-factor for the Bolts. The depth behind him isn’t very promising, and Ekeler played a big role in this offense last season, finding the endzone 20 times. If anything happens to him, the Chargers are in trouble.

H2: Chargers defense preview for the 2022 season

  • Important off-season additions
    • JC Jackson, BC
    • Khalil Mack, LB
    • Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT
    • Austin Johnson, NT
    • Bryce Callahan, BC
    • Kyle Van Noy, LB
  • Biggest X-Factor: Secondary depth
  • The squeakiest wheel: Linebacker

The linebacker position is by far the biggest hole in the Chargers defense this season as it is by design. Brandon Staley’s defense simply doesn’t value linebackers, and the team wasn’t going to go out and spend big on one. Instead, they hope that Kenneth Murray can turn it around.

However, the rest of the defense had to take a complete 180 from last season. The Chargers fixed perhaps the biggest issue on defense as they have rebuilt a solid defensive line that should be able to stop the run.

If they can properly defend the run while also having the elite passing duo of Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, then the Chargers are in for a lot of success. To truly maximize the team’s defensive potential, Staley needs all of his cornerbacks to step up this season.

We all know JC Jackson is going to be great, but if the Chargers are to really succeed, they need Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr., Bryce Callahan and the rookies to step up and provide quality snaps.

Overview of the Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff

  • Principal advisor: Brandon Staley
  • Of. Coordinator: Joe Lombardi
  • Def. Coordinator: Renaldo Hill Jr.

The Chargers return mostly the same coaching staff as last season with the only notable change being Ryan Ficken as special teams coordinator. Things will continue to work the same way with Brandon Staley running a well-oiled machine that loves to go for it on fourth down.

There is speculation that Sean Payton could come to LA as the Chargers are one of the few teams he is reportedly interested in. There is an extremely small chance of that happening since the team has committed so many resources to Brandon Staley . Plus, the Chargers will likely be good in 2022, which takes firing Staley off the table.

The Chargers would be a dumpster fire and owner Dean Spanos would have to overreact firing both Staley and Telesco to hire Payton. It probably won’t happen, but you should never say never in the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers Awards Watch

With the Chargers having so much talent and potentially one of the best teams in the league, naturally there will be an awards show.

Justin Herbert, MVP

Justin Herbert is the best pick for MVP next season if you want value. Herbert is already playing at an MVP level and just hasn’t had the team success to back it up. The selectors love stories and they love giving the award to new players. If Herbert just does what he did last year and the Chargers win 12 games, it’s a wrap.

Brandon Staley, Coach of the Year

The same can be said for Brandon Staley. If the Chargers are as good as they are expected to be on paper, Staley will obviously be in the coach of the year conversation.

Joey Bosa, Defensive Player of the Year

It still feels like Joey Bosa hasn’t peaked as an NFL player despite being an elite player for six seasons now. The craziest thing about Bosa is that he is still only 27 years old and is finally entering a season where he has help up front.

This is the most talented group of teammates Bosa has had, and teams can no longer double and triple him. It could result in a massive season for Bosa.

Biggest game on the Los Angeles Chargers schedule

It’s hard to pinpoint one game before the season begins, as so many different things can happen for each team. As it stands right now, however, expect Week 18 in Denver to have huge consequences. Both teams will undoubtedly be in the playoff hunt in some capacity, so we could see a repeat of Week 18 from last season with a different opponent.

Los Angeles Chargers season prediction: Best case scenario

Everything is clicking for the Chargers in the best case scenario, and they are the top seed in the AFC on a run to win the Super Bowl. Every team makes the last goal every season, but not every team can legally make that kind of run. The Chargers have the talent where they could make that kind of run.

Los Angeles Chargers season prediction: Worst case scenario

Outside of key injuries, which would obviously be the worst-case scenario, a realistic worst-case scenario for the Chargers in 2022 is something similar to the 2021 season. They are simply too talented and have too good a quarterback to post a bad record without a laundry list of injuries.

Instead, the worst-case scenario for a healthy Chargers this season is a year in which the team hovers around .500 and ultimately misses the playoffs due to several key mistakes in big games.

Los Angeles Chargers 2022 Season Prediction

  • 13-4 record
  • 1st place in AFC West
  • Playoff Prediction: Loss in the AFC Championship Game

I know the Chargers are the preseason favorites every year, but as someone who has covered the team for many of those years, I can attest that this year is truly different. Los Angeles has the talent to make a deep run, and they have the quarterback to lead the way.

The Bolts have a really easy schedule in the first half that should result in a red-hot start. With the Kansas City Chiefs having by far the toughest schedule in the league (according to Warren Sharp’s strength chart), the Chargers can capitalize and squeak out of a tough AFC West.

Playoff experience matters, and in the AFC Championship game, the Chargers will be up against a Buffalo Bills team that has been knocking on the Super Bowl door for several years now. The Bolts ultimately won’t make the Super Bowl, but it will be a very promising start to what fans hope is a long streak of success.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Los Angeles Chargers coverage, check out Bolt Beat.

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