These are the weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Philip Rivers (Last Week: 2). Will he lead a victory this Sunday at Kansas City, announcing the Chargers’ presence with authority? (Put me down for a win. Why not?) But even a loss shouldn’t blunt any early-season optimism, with three very winnable games thereafter (Jacksonville, Indianapolis, New Orleans).
2) Brandon Mebane (NR). A glass-half-full ranking as Mebane becomes Jamal Williams 2.0. He’ll need to be … (scanning Chargers D-line depth chart). So, OK, maybe the defense can just force some third-down incompletions against Kansas City?
3) Keenan Allen (NR). The Chiefs have invested some draft capital on cornerbacks the last three years (five total picks, including four in the first three rounds). Will provide a nice test for Allen in Week 1.
4) Travis Benjamin (NR). Can’t wait to see what the new receiving addition can bring, starting this week. Rivers has called him the fastest receiver he’s ever thrown to. (And maybe the fastest Charger since former running back Michael Bennett?)
5) AFC South (NR). 9-7 should win this division again, and these four up-for-grabs games could decide the Chargers’ season. Andrew Luck is back, but Indy struggles on both lines. Is Brock Osweiler better than Brian Mallett-Yates? The Jags and Titans would both be OK with 8-8 this year.
6) NFC South (NR). Outside of the Carolina game, this division should net three wins for the Chargers against what look to be very bad defenses (Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay). Should.
7) Kenny Wiggins (NR). Cut after each of his first five NFL preseasons, the Fresno State product finally made a 53-man roster going into Week 1. The feel-good story of the San Diego preseason.
8) Tenny Palepoi (NR). Undrafted in 2014, the former Ute broke a foot during camp last year and was put on IR. Nice to see him make it back on the roster this year.
9) Caraun Reid (NR). A badly-needed defensive line depth move. Reid, a Princeton man, had what was labeled as a “solid” season for Detroit in 2015. The Chargers will definitely take that.
10) Injury status (NR). It looks like Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (best RB) and Tamba Hali (best close-to-available pass rusher) will be out or very limited on Sunday. When was the last time the Chargers went into a game healthier than their opponent?
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). The Chargers begin yet another season playing the “Will We or Won’t We Move the Team” game. Could there be any Carson-like surprises this year?
2) Kevin Faulconer (NR). The mayor, apparently, is waiting for every last organization in San Diego to take sides before he weighs in on the stadium initiative. While I’m not sure too many voters are specifically waiting on his answer, a “No” would show that Spanos and Co. couldn’t get the area’s most powerful player on their team. (My guess: Faulconer comes down on the “No” side, but promises to negotiate with the team after the election).
3) Mike McCoy (NR). After two playoff-less years, the seat is getting warm. Will he (please!) take more chances this year?
4) Tom Telesco (NR). It’s Year 4 for the general manager, too. There are only five players left from the previous regime (Rivers, Antonio Gates, Corey Liuget, Melvin Ingram, Darrell Stuckey), so a bad season can’t only reflect on the coach.
5) AFC South (NR). Weeks 2 and 3 (vs. Jax, at Indy) should be indicators of this season, because even a better-than-expected Chargers team will likely struggle in the AFC West.
6) NFC South (NR). If this season goes south, there will be plenty of good seats available in Week 13 vs. Tampa Bay.
7) Manti Te’o (NR). This is a prove-it year for the former Fighting Irish linebacker, with his rookie deal up after the season. He’s establishing himself as a leader (named a team captain) but this defense needs more on-field production (and fewer missed tackles).
8) Joey Bosa (LW: 9). The missed games count: 1.
9) Damion Square (NR). His four-game suspension for a missed drug test comes at a bad time, with Bosa still working into shape, inexperienced youngsters as defensive line depth and a player (Reid) who just got to San Diego.
10) 2016 Prediction (NR). Pretty much guaranteed to be wrong! How about 10-6? (Five losses in the AFC West and at Carolina in Week 14).