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Chargers 2016 record predictions: Can they climb out of the cellar?

The Bolts from the Blue staff attempts to predict the San Diego Chargers’ record.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars Jim Steve-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Graber-Lipperman: I'm trying so hard not to be too optimistic, but I got a strange feeling that we'll oddly be good this year, 10-6 with playoffs. The offense will be top 5 with the return of Whisenhunt, with Keenan, Rivers, and Gordon ranking at the tops of their respective positions. The defense will be mediocre, with Jason Verret showing off as a Top 5 corner and Denzel Perryman dominating from Day 1. This unit has some talent--not enough for the defense to win games a la the 2015 Orange Crush, but at least to hold its own. Even special teams doesn't look as atrocious as it has in previous years! My surprise upset: this weekend, at KC. I think everyone is writing 'em out, and there's nothing more Chargers than winning a game they shouldn't.

Ryan Doyle: I predict the Chargers to go 8-8. Mike McCoy needs to win some division games and if the team does I think the team can get to .500. Maybe with some luck, have a meaningful game or two in December. Barring another catastrophic season where no offensive lineman can get on the field, the Chargers offense should be very, very good. Defensively, I'm concerned. The Chargers have major holes at the safety position and lack depth on the defensive side of the field. I'm pretty optimistic going into this season. Win a few games early and get this fan base excited.

Matthew Stanley: I want to be optimistic. I want to predict 10 wins and the playoffs. But I can't. I am finally going to be conservative and predict 7-9 for this season with the hope that they overachieve. Where I think they stand a chance to better their win total is the division games. Playing the Chiefs right off the bat with Houston out and Charles still not 100% is a huge help. Then playing the Broncos in weeks 6 and 8 is good because it's enough time for Trevor Siemian to disappoint in the first couple of games so the Chargers would be facing a rookie in Paxton Lynch with only a few games under his belt having to compete on the road, on a Thursday night. But I am preparing for the worst, which would be a 3rd or 4th place finish in the division, with a 7-9 record, and a middle of the 1st round draft pick. Please make me wrong Chargers.

Ruben J. Gonzalez: Since i have been a part of BFTB, which makes this year 3, I have come to the conclusion that I am too bias to predict what the season will end like. I am too optimistic, wishing and hoping and finding any angle that will help me justify the Chargers finishing with 10+ wins. Last year was the eye opener because I was so sure that 2015 was the year the Chargers were gonna make a very deep run in the playoffs. As we all know, we ended up with the 3rd overall pick. Shows what i know. So this year I'm trying something new: my friend had a 16-sided pair of dice. The die was cast... 10 wins. Or was it 10 losses? Hmmmm.

SD Native in TX: Before 2015, I figured PR healthy for all 16 set the team's floor at 6-10, even if he was surrounded by high schoolers after game 4. Now I have no idea where the floor for this team is, but they certainly have the right coach to discover it! Look, injuries are going to happen. This team managed to lose to a Big Ben-less Steeler team with a crappy secondary. Yes, the Bolts were beat up last year (), but not as beat up as New England or Washington. More significantly, the Bolts were healthier last season than they were in 2014, but that translated into MORE games lost.

Many on this blog have pointed out that the team lost several close games in 2015. This is not a cause for optimism; it is an indictment of poor coaching and the poor coaching remains. Yes, the offensive staff has significantly changed, but the team brought back a head coach that is getting worse on his first job, not better. It also brought back a defensive coordinator who has a ceiling of mediocre. And the ringleader of this 3-ring circus of turning perfectly good chicken into chickens---t remains under his visor on the sidelines. McCoy has not taught this team how to win in three full seasons. He has trained them how to lose with a ready excuse, hands in the air and a mumbled cliche, and no accountability. I see a 6-10 season at best for this team.

Jeff Siniard: Maybe it's foolishly optimistic, but I think this season is a replay of 2013, and a 9-7 record. This is because the Chargers will play complementary football, with the offense controlling the ball and protecting the defense by keeping them off the field. Bringing Whiz back as offensive coordinator means the team will focus on taking the easy 4-5 yards every play. Getting the ball out faster on pass plays will protect Rivers and the offensive tackles. Further, by de-emphasizing the shotgun draw and mixing in some power running, the OLine (especially the interior) should be able to stay healthier - they will be surging forward and be able to better protect themselves in the trash, as opposed to giving ground because they're always in pass looks. Matt Slauson is close enough to Hardwick mentally and physically to stabilize the interior. Also, as opposed to 2013, this defense is better and more talented.

The (eventual) front of Bosa, Mebane, and Liuget is the best this team has seen since 2010. Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward, and Brandon Flowers are light years ahead of Shareece Wright, Derek Cox, and Richard Marshall - which should at least mitigate some of the expected deficiencies at Safety. If Kyle Emanuel can turn into a reasonable facsimile of Jarret Johnson, and Melvin Ingram & Jeremiah Attaouchu can get to the QB on a fairly regular basis, that should be more than enough to help the offense. Lastly, it appears the only Super Bowl contender on the schedule is CAR. Within the AFC West, OAK is improved to the "prove it" stage. DEN likely isn't the offensive or defensive juggernaut of the past few years. KC has some injury problems of their own. If I trusted McCoy to maximize his team's potential by playing aggressive situational football, I'd love the Chargers to win the AFC West. His conservatism will likely cost the team at least 2-3 games which are otherwise winnable - and possibly a playoff spot with it.

Louis Gorini: After looking at the San Diego Chargers schedule, I predict they go 7-9. Yes, the Chargers improved in some capacity. They have better depth along the offensive line. I loved the Slauson signing to bring stability to the interior of the offensive line. Now they can ease in Max Tuerk and use him as a backup until he gets more comfortable. I also liked the fact that Chris Watt has been regulated to backup duties as well. That is what his role should be. Fluker also appears more comfortable in his second year as a guard. The Chargers strengthened the offensive line and that will most likely help Gordon become a competent running back.

My favorite move was the addition of a creative and balanced offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt. There are so many weapons at his disposal, he will most certainly turn this offense from good to great. Now to play devil's advocate, San Diego didn't do enough on the defensive side of the ball. Pagano, their defensive coordinator should have been let go. He does a poor job growing the defensive talent on this team. The Chargers have spent countless early picks on the defensive side of the ball only to be mediocre. In addition, it is still apparent that the defensive players are constantly out of position and Pagano's blitzes don't work. It is still baffling how he drops Melvin Ingram, their best pass rusher, so much into coverage.

San Diego has the worse safeties combinations in all of the NFL but will most likely be bailed out because of their elite cornerbacks. Once again, the Chargers will be horrid at stopping the run, and the whole Joey Bosa fiasco has impeded the development of such an integral player. Games they will win: Home vs Jacksonville, At Indianapolis, At Atlanta, Home vs Tennessee, Home vs Miami, Home vs Tampa Bay, At Cleveland.

Daniel Farias: I have the Chargers going 9-7 sneaking into the final spot of the playoffs. Rivers and Gordon will both benefit from better o-line play. I expect big numbers from Keenan and a typical Chargers defense that bends but doesn't break. The safeties worry me but not enough to crush all hope.

Aaron Woolley: I think the Chargers can win 10 games this year. Because they are the Chargers, they will drop a completely winnable game and will end the season 9-7 and out of the playoffs due to my prediction this whole offseason that two teams from the AFC West will make the playoffs. The Chargers quietly added some key pieces, and not so quietly lost Eric Weddle to free agency (which still hurts). This whole team lives or dies by the hand of Rivers. As long as he's healthy, the Chargers have a chance to go all the way. Keenan Allen playing a full 16 games wouldn't hurt either.

Cody Young: I'm going to say it's a 9-7 season. The offense should be improved with Keenan back doing Keenan things, Melvin Gordon looking like a new running back, the addition of Travis Benjamin plus the emergence of Tyrell Williams at wide receiver, and some health along the offensive line. Oh, and Whiz is back. I expect this to be a formidable offense.

Defense concerns me, mainly on the back end at both safety positions. Hopefully, the trio of Verrett, Hayward, and Flowers are able to mask that deficiency even just a little bit. It will be interesting to see how different the defensive line looks with Mebane and eventually Bosa starting on it.

The Chargers also need to get a break with injuries to get over .500 this year. Considering the depth deficiencies all throughout the roster, more than one major injuries could be disastrous.

As sad as it is, I'm also crediting 2-3 losses to the coaching staff. They have cost this team games in each of the past 3 seasons and there's no reason to think they will not do the same this season. Hopefully, I'm wrong about that.

Daniel Stebbins: 7-9. I would love to predict a 10-6 year and a playoff spot, but I just don't see it. I see this team making some big steps in the right direction, especially defensively, but there are still too many deficiencies in important positions. There is such a lack of depth in many positions that if the starter goes down it will greatly impact the product on the field. Run defense is relying on an aging (though very talented) Mebane and a rookie who missed all of preseason in Bosa. If both of them don't show up big time, SD will be in the same spot as last year as far as run defense goes. That's a big concern to me. Offensively, I feel very strongly that they will have a top 5 team. Better OL depth than last year, luckily, will undoubtedly help at some point in the season. Looking at the division, just not sure they can finish anything higher than 3rd. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Jamie Sewell: 9-7 with the last wildcard spot. This is a much more talented team than people (and the media) think. Philip Rivers is an elite QB, Keenan Allen could be a top 5 WR by the time this season ends, and the starting OL isn't a bad unit when healthy, especially with the addition of Matt Slauson. On defense, Brandon Mebane is going to be a huge help in defending the run, as is Joey Bosa, with Denzel Perryman just annihilating ballcarriers. Jason Verrett is fantastic, and Casey Hayward is as good a slot CB as you'll find in the NFL. Add in a (hopefully) rejuvenated Brandon Flowers, and this could be one of the best CB groupings in the game. Mark my words - the Chargers will be playing meaningful football in January.

Roger Hinojosa: I'm saying we go 9-7 McCoy is kept around prop c passes and Gordon does substantially approve this season. We face the same woes as last year but not as many injuries. Defense struggles but our offense actually establishes a run game. We'll miss the playoffs but improve overall as a team.

Richard Wade: The Chargers are better than they were last year when they went 4-12. They also have an easier schedule. The division remains tough, though. The others have already gone into depth, though, so I won’t repeat their work. I expect the team to go 7-9, but I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong by two games in either direction.