Team Capsules: Los Angeles Chargers

September 1, 2023

A look at every NFL franchise heading into the 2023 season

© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers are one of those teams that is always on the verge of success. They have been so close, yet so far.

They have found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, but still haven’t even sniffed the Super Bowl. Is this the year?

The expectation for the Chargers is once again to be a Super Bowl contender. They are expected to make the playoffs despite being in a tough division. They are tied for 10th for best odds to win the Super Bowl.

Do Justin Herbert and the Chargers have what it takes? As far as talent, the answer is yes. Their receiving corps is made up of players such as Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and rookie Quentin Johnston. They re-signed Austin Ekeler in the offseason, and they have players such as Joey Bosa and Derwin James on the defense.

However, head coach Brandon Staley is in a make-or-break year after one of the more embarrassing playoff losses of all-time, falling after being up 27 points at halftime. That’s going to be tough to bounce back from.

What to like about the Chargers…

  • Despite their inability to get it done year after year, L.A.’s Super Bowl odds are incredibly low. They have a top-five QB with talented receivers and a well-balanced defense. What’s not to like about +2000?
  • The Chargers finished 10-7 last year, in what was said to be the hardest division in football at the beginning of the season. This year, their over/under for win total is set at 9.5. They can certainly get 10 wins if not more. At -135, this is good value.
  • Herbert had a career year last season, as he threw for 4,739 yards and 25 touchdowns. This year, it looks as if it could be even more. He definitely has the makings of an MVP QB.

What not to like about the Chargers…

  • The Chargers are often on the verge of making the playoffs and this year could either be really bad or really good. At -120, their odds of making the playoffs are pretty fair, but it’s tough to tell which way it’ll go.
  • Quentin Johnston was an absolute stud at TCU and was a huge part of their success. However, will that translate to the NFL and will he be better than every other offensive rookie. It’s hard to see him outshining the stacked QB class and the likes of Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs.
  • If the Chargers have an insanely good year, and blow expectations out of the water, then maybe Brandon Staley has a chance to earn some hardware at season’s end. But right now, he is on the hot seat, and Coach of the Year doesn’t even seem feasible.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Chargers over 9.5 wins (-135)

The best bet to make on the Chargers for the upcoming season is over 9.5 wins. They have tons of talent and can certainly piece it together to get 10 wins. They were 10-7 last year and are expected to improve. Justin Herbert is electric, Austin Ekeler is a top-five back and the defense is solid. Expect the Chargers to get not just 10 but 11 wins or more this season.  And remember, if and when the Chargers underachieve, it’s typically been after the season, not during it.