The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the snakebite-ridden Los Angeles Chargers.
2017 in a nutshell: The most cursed franchise in the NFL starts 0-4 with several tough-luck losses, rebounds and then suffers two more tough-luck losses against Jacksonville and New England, rebounds again, but it’s too late. They finish 9-7, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year despite being loaded with talent.
What’s different: Top 2017 draft picks Mike Williams and Forrest Lamp are healthy and first-round rookie safety Derwin James is expected to make a major impact from the get-go.
Why they could be awesome: They have a potential Hall of Fame quarterback in Philip Rivers, who is surrounded by high-quality weapons, protected by a decent offensive line and supported by one of the most talented defenses in football.
Why they could suck: That’s been the case for quite a while, but they also seem to catch bad breaks on a weekly basis and have been consistently crushed by injuries.
Major additions: James, tight end Virgil Green.
Major losses: Tight end Hunter Henry (lost for the season with a torn ACL), safety Tre Boston.
Breakout watch: Williams fell way behind after suffering a back injury in rookie minicamp last year. As a result, he caught fewer than half the passes he was targeted on and failed to score a touchdown in 10 games as a rook. But the 23-year-old has seemingly taken off this offseason, and he certainly has the talent to become a superstar out wide.
Position to watch: The Chargers might have the best all-around pass-rushing duo in the NFL. Joey Bosa is already a stud and a top defensive player of the year candidate at age 23, while veteran Melvin Ingram has 29 sacks in his last three seasons. If those two are on, that skilled secondary could benefit greatly.
Prediction: The law of averages has to help them out eventually. The Henry loss is concerning, but that division is wide open and it’s the Chargers’ turn.
10-6, 1st place in the AFC West