USA Today predicts promising season for Chargers in 2022

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As we continue to inch closer to the 2022 regular season, predictions for how the year will shake up for all 32 NFL teams continue to flood the web.

The latest comes from USA Today’s Nate Davis (subscriber only), who predicts the Chargers to finish 11-6 and earn a wild card spot.

In the wild-card matchup against the three-seeded Chiefs, Los Angeles defeats them only to get knocked out by the Bills, who lose to the Packers in Super Bowl 57.

Here is why Davis is so optimistic about L.A. heading into the upcoming season:

Whether it’s the “Air Coryell” teams, the 1994 AFC champions, or the LaDainian Tomlinson-Philip Rivers era, the Bolts have often looked to be on the verge of greatness … until they’re short-circuited by crippling injuries, poor game management, simple bad luck or all of the above. So here we are again, the 2022 edition projecting as a powerhouse – on paper. QB Justin Herbert, already part of the MVP discourse, is surrounded by scads of talent, including a potential brilliant coach in Brandon Staley – even if he overanalyzed his way out of playoff berth in Week 18 of last season. Still, folding the likes of OLB Khalil Mack, CB J.C. Jackson and rookie G Zion Johnson and RB Isaiah Spiller into this core suggests a team that’s already proven it can go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs should be primed for bigger things. The first six weeks should be telling as the Chargers will have gone through the AFC West lineup once, including dates with the Raiders and Chiefs in the season’s first five days.

The Bolts receiving plenty of hype and having high expectations from the media comes as no surprise. In the last few seasons, the team has failed to live up to them, but there are plenty of reasons to believe they will be able to match this year.

First off, the Chargers are stacked on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, Los Angeles will be led by one of the league’s best signal-callers, Justin Herbert. With the line in place and weapons around him, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer Austin Ekeler, and Gerald Everett, Herbert should be set up for success in Year 3.

Defensively, the unit is completely revamped to go with stars Derwin James and Joey Bosa. Along with the notable additions of J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack, the team has reinforcements to fix a horrid run defense from a year ago, with Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson.

A team that has dealt with injuries to key players in the past has plenty of proven depth players to mitigate any potential losses.

As for the rest of the AFC West, Davis sees the Chiefs winning the AFC West with an 11-6 record while the Raiders finish 9-8 and the Broncos 8-9.