Los Angeles Chargers season prediction: Best and worst case scenario for 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate after a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on December 16, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrate after a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on December 16, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a glimpse at the Los Angeles Chargers season prediction.

The Los Angeles Chargers are entering one of the most anticipated seasons of all time after the front office made a statement this offseason. With an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert on his rookie deal, Tom Telesco and co. decided to go all-in and add more talent to the roster than he ever has before.

That makes the 2022 season an extremely compelling one for the Bolts as they are going to battle it out in a very tough AFC West and an even tougher AFC.

With the 2022 season just around the corner and anticipation at an all-time high for the team, let’s dive into everything you need to know about the Chargers.

Los Angeles Chargers 2021 season in review

  • 9-8 record
  • 3rd place in the AFC West
  • Didn’t qualify for playoffs

The Chargers had the division in their hand last season and a horrible defense kept the team from ultimately dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs as AFC West Champions. If the Chargers win the coin flip against Kansas City in Week 15 and don’t meltdown afterwards against Houston and Las Vegas then they would have been AFC West Champions.

Even more frustrating is the fact that the team missed the playoffs after the epic Week 18 showdown against the Raiders. Justin Herbert lit the world on fire that night but it was the Bolts’ bottom-five defense that lost them the game.

Los Angeles Chargers NFL Draft class 2022

  • Rd 1: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
  • Rd 3: JT Woods, S, Baylor
  • Rd 4: Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
  • Rd 5: Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA
  • Rd 6: Jamaree Salyer, G, Georgia
  • Rd 6: Ja’Sir Taylor, CB, Wake Forest
  • Rd 7: Deane Leonard, CB, Mississippi
  • Rd 7: Zander Horvath, FB, Purdue

The Chargers continued their commitment to the offensive line in the 2022 NFL Draft by selecting arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the class in Zion Johnson. Johnson impressed during training camp thus far and looks ready to come into the league and be an average right guard at worst for the Bolts.

The rest of the draft class was about building depth in key areas. Brandon Staley favored athleticism in the secondary as he took three very athletic defensive backs in Woods, Taylor and Leonard. All three guys project to be cover corners as the Chargers are hoping to get their hands on them and mold them into complete pros.

Isaiah Spiller is the favorite for the RB2 job and provides key depth behind Austin Ekeler while Otito Ogbonnia adds to the newfound defensive line rotation that is built to stop the run. Jamaree Salyer is a really promising interior offensive lineman that is currently just for depth and Zander Horvath should be the favorite to beat out Gabe Nabers for starting fullback.

Fans should not expect this class to light the world on fire right away. In 2022, fans should expect these rookies to provide quality depth while blossoming towards bigger roles in the future.

Previewing Chargers offense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • Gerald Everett, TE
    • Zion Johnson, OG
    • DeAndre Carter, WR
    • Isaiah Spiller, RB
  • Biggest X-Factor: Austin Ekeler, RB
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Right tackle

The Chargers had a top-five offense in the league last season and fans should expect more of the same this year. While the team did not add any huge names, the offense undoubtedly still got better with a better tight end, more offensive line help and more weapons in Carter and Spiller.

Right tackle still is not great for the Chargers with Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton being the two options, but with so much talent around them, the Bolts can probably get by.

Justin Herbert is a legitimate MVP candidate and as long as his weapons continue to play at a high level then the Chargers should be great. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams make up one of the best receiving duos in the league while Josh Palmer is due for a big breakout in 2022.

Despite having such a prominent passing game, Austin Ekeler is the biggest x-factor for the Bolts. The depth behind him is not very promising and Ekeler played a big role in this offense last season, finding the endzone 20 times. If something happens to him the Chargers are in trouble.

Previewing Chargers defense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions
    • J.C. Jackson, CB
    • Khalil Mack, LB
    • Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT
    • Austin Johnson, NT
    • Bryce Callahan, CB
    • Kyle Van Noy, LB
  • Biggest X-Factor: Secondary depth
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Linebacker

The Linebacker position is by far the biggest hole on the Chargers defense this season by that is by design. Brandon Staley’s defense simply does not value linebackers and the team was not going to go out and spend big on one. Instead, they are hoping that Kenneth Murray can turn it around.

The rest of the defense should take a complete 180 from last season, though. The Chargers fixed perhaps the biggest problem on defense as they have rebuild a stout defensive line that should be able to stop the run.

If they can properly defend the run while also having the elite pass-rushing duo of Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa then the Chargers are in for a lot of success. To truly maximize the team’s defensive potential, Staley needs all of his cornerbacks to step up this season.

We all know that J.C. Jackson is going to be great but if the Chargers are truly going to succeed they need the likes of Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr, Bryce Callahan and the rookies to step up and provide quality snaps.

Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff overview

  • Head Coach: Brandon Staley
  • Off. Coordinator: Joe Lombardi
  • Def. Coordinator: Renaldo Hill Jr.

The Chargers are running back mostly the same coaching staff as last season with the only notable change being Ryan Ficken as the special teams coordinator. Things will continue to operate the same with Brandon Staley running a well-oiled machine that loves to go for it on fourth down.

There is speculation that Sean Payton could come to LA as the Chargers are one of the few teams he is reportedly interested in. There is an extremely small chance that happens as the team has committed so many resources to Brandon Staley. Plus, the Chargers will likely be good in 2022, which takes firing Staley off the table.

The Chargers would have to be a dumpster fire and owner Dean Spanos would have to make the overreaction of firing both Staley and Telesco to hire Payton. It likely won’t happen, but never say never in the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers Awards Watch

With the Chargers having so much talent and potentially being one of the best teams in the league, there naturally will be some award-watching.

Justin Herbert, MVP

Justin Herbert is the best pick for MVP next season if you want value. Herbert is already playing at an MVP level and just has not had the team success to back it up. Voters love narratives and they love giving the award out to new players. If Herbert just does what he did last year and the Chargers win 12 games then it is a wrap.

Brandon Staley, Coach of the Year

The same can be said for Brandon Staley. If the Chargers are as good as they are projected to be on paper then Staley is naturally going to be in the conversation for Coach of the Year.

Joey Bosa, Defensive Player of the Year

It still feels like Joey Bosa has not peaked as an NFL player despite being an elite player for six seasons now. The craziest thing about Bosa is that he is still only 27 years old and is finally entering a season in which he has help up front.

This is the most talented group of teammates that Bosa has had and teams can no longer double and triple team him. That could result in a massive season for Bosa.

Biggest game on Los Angeles Chargers schedule

It is hard to pinpoint one game before the season begins as so many different things can happen to every team. As it stands right now, though, Week 18 at Denver projects to have huge implications. Both teams will be in the playoff hunt in some capacity without a doubt, so we could see a repeat of Week 18 from last season with a different opponent.

Los Angeles Chargers season prediction: Best case scenario

Everything clicks for the Chargers in the best-case scenario and they are the top seed in the AFC, making a run towards winning the Super Bowl. Every team makes that the end goal every season but not every team can legitimately make that kind of run. The Chargers have the talent where they could make that kind of run.

Los Angeles Chargers season prediction: Worst case scenario

Outside of key injuries, which would obviously be the worst-case scenario, a realistic worst-case scenario for the Chargers in 2022 is something similar to the 2021 season. They are simply too talented and have too good of a quarterback to post a bad record without there being a laundry list of injuries.

Instead, the worst-case scenario for a healthy Chargers this season is a year in which the team hovers around .500 and ultimately misses the playoffs because of several key mistakes in big games.

Los Angeles Chargers season prediction for 2022

  • 13-4 record
  • 1st place in AFC West
  • Playoff Prediction: Lose in the AFC Championship Game

I know that the Chargers are the preseason favorites every year but as someone who has covered the team for many of those years I can attest that this year is truly different. Los Angeles has the talent to make a deep run and they have the quarterback to lead the way.

The Bolts have a really easy first-half schedule that should result in a red-hot start. With the Kansas City Chiefs having the hardest schedule in the league by far (according to Warren Sharp’s strength of schedule), the Chargers can capitalize and squeak out a tough AFC West.

Playoff experience does matter and in the AFC Championship Game the Chargers will square off against a Buffalo Bills team that has been knocking on the Super Bowl door for multiple years now. The Bolts ultimately won’t make the Super Bowl but it will be a very promising start to what fans hope is a long run of success.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Los Angeles Chargers coverage, check out Bolt Beat.