Bolts Look to Redeem Degrading Loss
The Los Angeles Chargers come off a successful season, making the postseason for the first time since 2018. However, the 2022-23 season ended with an embarrassing result. The Chargers were rolling in the wild-card round with a 27-0 lead against the Jacksonville Jaguars but became a laughing stock, losing the game 31-30.
This is a franchise with little success since being founded in 1960. The Bolts have yet to win the Super Bowl and have only one championship in franchise history – an AFC Championship in 1963. However, Los Angeles could have the tools to turn its luck around. Quarterback Justin Herbert is a beaming bright spot with supreme talent. The sportsbook lists Herbert with the third-shortest odds to win the MVP Award in the 2023-24 season (+1200). Plus, the Chargers have amassed an impressive roster around the 25-year-old signal-caller.
The Bolts are charging up for a breakout season. Will Los Angeles finally become a contender? Check out the Chargers’ outlook for the upcoming season and why backing LA could be a smart NFL pick.
Los Angeles Rejuvenated
Injuries played a major factor last season. Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen missed seven games with a nagging hamstring injury. Following an All-Pro rookie season, left tackle Rashawn Slater had his second campaign hampered by a biceps injury, which kept him out for 14 games. Once veteran wideout Allen returned from injury, his running mate, Mike Williams, was absent for four games with a high ankle sprain.
Los Angeles’ luck was no better on the defensive side of the ball. Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa played in only six of 18 games due to a groin setback. The Chargers’ big-ticket signing in the 2022 offseason was cornerback J.C. Jackson, who inked a five-year, $82.5 million deal. Following a slow start, Jackson dislocated his knee cap and ruptured his patellar tendon in Week 7.
The Bolts were ravaged by injuries. Few NFL expert picks predicted Los Angeles would do much, but it managed to finish the regular season 10-7, earning a wild card berth. A double-digit win season with a load of injuries was a major success.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2022
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The Chargers are entering the season healthy with heightened goals. Last year, some NFL predictions called LA contenders following a strong offseason. We will finally see that roster at full strength, and the Bolts made upgrades with the additions of linebacker Eric Kendricks and rookies wide receiver Quentin Johnston and edge rusher Tuli Tuipulotu.
NFL lines have Los Angeles’ projected win total at 9½ with a playoff appearance juiced to -105.
Herbert Looks to Crank Up Wattage
High expectations will surround the Chargers for the 2023-24 season. This could be a make-or-break year for coach Brandon Staley, who has often received criticism for his analytical approach. Los Angeles finished last season with 10 wins and a postseason appearance despite numerous injuries. Of course, Bolt fans will at least expect another playoff berth.
The Chargers are hoping to join the contenders in the AFC, which includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills. On paper, Los Angeles certainly looks the part. Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, possibly in the top five. Allen, Williams and Johnston should form one of the NFL’s best wide receiving corps. Bosa and Khalil Mack will get their first full season together, forming a menacing pass-rushing duo. If Jackson returns to his 2021 form, the secondary will be loaded with the likes of safety Derwin James and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
How far the Bolts go will likely fall on Herbert’s shoulders. We have seen AFCteams break out in recent seasons. No one expected the Bengals – led by Joe Burrow – to make Super Bowl 56 in the 2021-22 season. The Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence were a surprise last season, winning the AFC South and advancing to the divisional round.
It’s time for Herbert to follow suit, taking the Chargers to contender status. He is the guiding light of this franchise. Yes, this franchise does not have a history of winning. What can change that? A superstar quarterback. Herbert has often gotten the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Los Angeles’ failures. If healthy, this roster will provide plenty of support for Herbert in his fourth season.
Sit back, relax and watch Justin Herbert sling it. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/4yt6VCx89n
— NFL (@NFL) June 11, 2023
Winning the AFC West remains a longshot with the Kansas City Chiefs’ dynasty thriving. NFL odds have the Chiefs priced at -155 to win the division, compared to the Bolts at +325. The Chargers can still spark a deep run out of a wild-card spot. Look for Los Angeles to go over its win total (-130) with a playoff appearance (-105). Herbert winning the MVP Award is another intriguing sports bet. He has the potential; this could be the season the Oregon product pieces it together.
The Chargers could finally break through with a roster at full strength. Los Angeles will continue to spark interest in betting markets as the season approaches.