Chargers return to playoffs in “way-way too early” predictions


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL schedule was released on Wednesday, and the San Diego Chargers hold the fourth most difficult road throughout the 2014-15 season, according to

However, there can be some optimism, as ESPN’s Eric D. Williams, the NFL Nation San Diego Chargers blogger, predicted a 10-6 season.

And despite the difficult road ahead, the Chargers have a decent chance at a second straight playoff birth.

Week 1 – At Arizona Cardinals, Sept. 8, 10:20 p.m. EST (Chargers hold 9-3 series lead all-time): W – The Chargers will face the NFL’s sixth ranked offense from a year ago, on the road to begin the season, as part of the Monday Night Football double-header. Chances are, they’ll be going into Arizona the underdog, but a win is possible.

Week 2 – vs. the Seattle Seahawks, Sept. 14, 4:05 p.m. EST (Seahawks hold 23-26 series lead all-time): L – The Chargers playing the defending Super Bowl Champions so early in the season does not bode well, especially for a team that has proven to struggle early season. The Bolts might have a better chance if they played them in November or December.

Week 3 – at Buffalo Bills, Sept. 21, 1 p.m. EST (Chargers hold a 22-12-2 series lead all-time): W – After losing All-World safety Jairus Byrd, inexperienced quarterback EJ Manuel may not have what it takes to defeat San Diego just yet. But, the Chargers’ offensive line could struggle against a defensive unit that ranked second in sacks in 2013.

Week 4 – vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sept. 28, 4:05 EST (Chargers hold a 4-2 series lead all-time): W – Head coach Gus Bradley is the right man in Jacksonville, but when Chad Henne is your quarterback, you aren’t going to be winning many games. Barring the Jaguars’ significant quarterback turnover, Chargers win this one easily.

Week 5 – vs. the New York Jets, Oct. 5, 4:25 p.m. EST (Chargers hold a 20-14-1 series lead all-time): L – The Jets will come into the 2014 season with one of the strongest backfields in the league, after adding Chris Johnson this off-season. Combine that with the typical Jets defense, the Chargers might have a difficult time coming away with the victory.

Week 6 – at the Oakland Raiders, Oct. 12, 4:05 p.m. EST (Raiders hold a 59-48-2 series lead all-time): W – The new look Raiders look scary on paper. The defense looks as strong as it has in years. The Chargers win because this game is not Primetime, when the Raiders have typically given the Bolts fits.

Week 7 – vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, Oct. 19, 4:05 p.m. EST (Chargers hold a 55-52 series lead all-time): W- The Chiefs have lost a lot this off-season in Brandon Albert to Miami, Dexter McCluster to Tennessee, among others, without adding enough to supplement a need at wide receiver. Maybe it will be different after the draft, but as of right now, the Chargers should win this one.

Week 8 – at the Denver Broncos, Oct. 23, 8:25 p.m. EST (Broncos hold a 59-49-1 series lead all-time): L – Lets face it; the Chargers will not enter Denver this year with their backs against the wall, needing a win to stay alive. Denver is just built to win it all this year.

Week 9 – at the Miami Dolphins, November 2, 1 p.m. EST (Dolphins hold a 15-14 series lead all-time): L – Heading to the east coast to play a game that would have started at 10 a.m. PST is never easy. That could hurt the Chargers in this one.

Week 10- Sunday November 9, Bye

Week 11 – vs. the Oakland Raiders, November 16, 4:05 p.m. EST: W – Nothing much changes here. Chargers win on the road in week 6, will win again at home in week 11.

Week 12 – vs. the St. Louis Rams, November 23, 4:05 p.m. EST (Rams hold a 6-4 series lead all-time): W – As of today, I do not think the Rams have enough to beat the Chargers. However, that could change if the Rams cash in with their two top 15 draft picks.

Week 13 – at the Baltimore Ravens, November 30 1 p.m. EST (Ravens hold a 5-4 series lead all-time): L – Joe Flacco suffered in consistency last season, tossing a career high 22 interceptions, but that will not be the Flacco of 2014. Ravens win this one with efficient quarterback play, while getting a lot of help from a strong defense.

Week 14 – vs. the New England Patriots, December 7, 8:30 p.m. EST (Patriots hold a 22-15-2 series lead all-time): W – The Chargers will come into December, a month in which they are 10-4 in games since 2011, fighting to stay alive in the playoff race. The running attack will be very efficient against the retooled Patriots, contributing to another December victory.

Week 15 – vs. the Denver Broncos, December 14 4:05 p.m. EST: – W – The Chargers may have more to fight for in this match up against the Broncos, who may have clinched the AFC west by this point. Chargers win because they want it more.

Week 16 – at the San Francisco 49ers, December 21, time to be decided (49ers hold a 7-6 series lead all-time): L – The 49ers will be a challenge that will prove too tall of a task for the Chargers, concluding the most brutal stretch of the 2014 season. The result could have been different if the Bolts did not play the Patriots-Broncos-49ers in succession; it will be too difficult to play at such a high level three weeks in a row.

Week 17 – at the Kansas City Chiefs, December 28 1 p.m. EST: W – The Chargers have a chance at coming into the final week of the season in charge of their own playoff destiny. A win will get them in, and they defeat the Chiefs for a second consecutive season to clinch a playoff birth.

Although the Chargers have the fourth most difficult road to the playoffs in 2014, they will have improved enough throughout the off-season to finish 10-6 and clinch a six seed in the playoffs.