TDT NFL Power Rankings No. 26: Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are now in L.A., but will they be able to shine under the bright lights?

The Chargers franchise is getting a fresh start in 2017. They have a new home in Los Angeles and a new head coach in Anthony Lynn. Last season, the Chargers won just five games total, but lost several others by close margins. With an extremely talented, yet injury-prone offense and a budding defense, it will be interesting to see how this team fares in the first season of their new era.

What I Like: The potential of this offense is crazy. Philip Rivers’ production over the course of his career has been rather up and down, but he’s a fiery competitor and is capable of slinging the football around with the best of them. He will have a plethora of toys to play around with this season as well. Melvin Gordon appears ready to be the bell cow for the running game. A receiving corps of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry sounds great — that is, if they can stay healthy.

What I Hate: There had been some injury concerns when it came to Danny Woodhead, but the Chargers are going to sorely miss his presence. He was that change of pace back who opposing defenses had trouble figuring out to stop. On the defensive end, they have some studs in Joey Bosa and Casey Heyward, but the large portion of the depth chart includes unproven talent.

K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune

Offensive MVP: RB Melvin Gordon With Woodhead no longer on the team, the Chargers will rely heavily on Gordon to run the ball effectively. He had a fairly disappointing rookie season, but bounced back last year, rushing for just under 1,000 yards on the season to go along with 12 touchdowns. If he can stay healthy (and that’s a big “if”), I fully expect him to be a force on the ground and out of the backfield.

Defensive MVP: DE Joey Bosa Bosa made a strong impression last season as a rookie, tallying 10.5 sacks in just 12 games played, on his way to being named Defensive Rookie of the Year. After such an impressive rookie campaign, Bosa will most likely draw plenty of double teams, opening up opportunities for other players on the Chargers defensive front to shine.

Season Outlook: By season’s end, the Chargers could certainly move up the ladder, but I have too many concerns heading into the season to put them any higher. The offense could be very dangerous, but based simply off track record, there is likely to be an injury or two that will prevent them from reaching their full potential. Also, I’m not fully sold on their defense. Bosa is a beast and Heyward is one of the NFL’s few lockdown corners. Melvin Ingram has turned into a promising pass rusher. But, outside of those three guys, nothing else is a sure thing.

7-9, 4th in AFC West

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