Wildcard, Los Angeles Chargers:
The Los Angeles Chargers wasted a very valuable year of Justin Herbert’s rookie contract in 2021 by missing the playoffs, fault largely of their defense and their #32 ranked run defense in the NFL. Last year if you wanted to beat the Chargers the formula was to keep Herbert on the sidelines.
What better way to do that than to run the ball on the worst ranked run defense in the entire league, Herbert and the offense were inconsistent at times as well but it was the defense that would make the Chargers pay the price.
The Chargers know that fact pretty clearly so they went out and signed defensive pieces like Khalil Mack and JC Jackson. Apart from that the Chargers also made sure they kept their offensive core together since that side of the ball is working seamlessly.
The Kansas City Chiefs have lost a lot of key, big time, veteran, pieces like Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu for example, and on paper the Chargers have more weapons than the Chiefs, better run game, and a better defense.
Patrick Mahomes & Andy Reid won’t be able to just keep pulling magic tricks as they get less and less cards to play with, and that will be a reality check for them this year. So I’m predicting Herbert and the Chargers to edge out Mahomes and company for 2nd place in the west.
I don’t expect Kansas City to fall off a cliff, but I do expect them to fall behind the Broncos and Chargers because they just don’t have the firepower to keep up, or the defense to stop the high caliber of their opponents.