clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chargers 2016 Season: Best Case Scenario

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipation is almost over, football once again is here. For the 2016 San Diego Chargers, it is a chance to finally put to bed all of the problems from last year. Many questions are still unanswered with this team but with a new season comes a fresh start. A blank page.

There is reason for optimism despite what is being predicted by the national (and much of the local) media. (Recent power rankings has the Chargers ranked at 29/32) The offseason brought a lot of new exciting things to watch this year. The return of Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, key additions in free agency including Travis Benjamin and Brandon Mebane, and drafting the hopeful face of the franchise on defense Joey Bosa.

This article will be a guide for the Chargers’ season if everything goes right. With the combination of skill and luck the Chargers will roll into the playoffs, but can they make a deep playoff run? Will the November 8th stadium vote pass? Here is the best case scenario for this season.

This season the Chargers return to 2013 form and finally show an effective run game. The starting offensive line (King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Matt Slauson, D.J. Fluker, Joe Barksdale) will stay relatively healthy allowing them to establish chemistry. Franklin will find his place in San Diego and return to the offensive linemen he was in Denver. Dunlap will show his inconsistency last year was due to injury and his skill has not diminished. Fluker finally takes the next step showing his worth and Barksdale continues to be consistent and holds his own. Slauson turns out to be the piece that has been missing on this line for the past couple of years providing much-needed leadership and toughness from the center position.

Melvin Gordon’s play only elevates with an improved O-line as he reaches the 1,000 rushing mark and rushes for 8 touchdowns; he shows that he is not only a viable option for this year but shows enough to give the fans optimism on the position moving forward. Gordon will play with confidence making sharp decisive cuts running downhill with power and will also show his improvements as a pass blocker gaining Phillip Rivers trust. Danny Woodhead will continue to be the best pass-catching running back in the league, proving he has not lost any steps and will finally gain the recognition he deserves as a player in this league.

The receiving core is led by Keenan Allen, who makes the jump into being one of the top 5 best receivers in the league and winning Comeback Player of the Year. Allen will lead the league in catches and in yards adding 9 touchdowns; he will finally be the threat at wide receiver to opposing defenses that the Chargers haven’t had since Vincent Jackson. Travis Benjamin proves to be the perfect complement stretching the field for the offense and making a huge impact, catching 5 touchdowns of 40 plus yards. Rivers will click with his new deep threat from the beginning, showing this is what has been missing in this offense for the last few years. Tyrell Williams will also have his fair share of great catches and help round out an outstanding receiving core.

Antonio Gates shows he has not lost a step catching 8 touchdowns this year breaking Tony Gonzalez’s career record and will not miss a game all year. Hunter Henry proves to be worth the pick in the second round making an immediate impact and showing fans that the TE position will not be having a drop off when 85 hangs them up.

Phillip Rivers continues to be the heart and soul of this team leading them to a division title and a playoff run; he will get his recognition and finally be a legit MVP candidate.

On defense, a young group shows potential and finishes as a top 15 unit in the league. The run stop defense is much improved holding opposing teams to less than 100 yards a game. The secondary remains a strong unit and there is little drop off from Eric Weddle to Dwight Lowery.

The defensive line will be the most improved unit on the team. Brandon Mebane provides the needed leadership to this unit. Mebane will still play at a high level taking on the necessary double teams and not lose ground; he will clog up the middle giving some stability and consistency to the position since Jamal Williams dominated in the middle. Corey Liuget will benefit from help along the D-line, racking up clutch stops and holding his own in the run game. Joey Bosa will provide the spark that has been missing from this unit for the last few years bringing fear to opposing quarterbacks threatening to make a big play on any given down. Bosa will transition to the NFL flawlessly and show he was worth the pick at number 3. Bosa’s season will be capped off with a Defense Rookie of the Year award notching 10 sacks and dominating the run game.

Young linebacker, Denzel Perryman finally makes the next step and plays fast and effectively. Leading the team in tackles, Perryman will finish in the top ten in the same category in all of NFL; he will set the tone with his physical playing style and proves to not be a liability on passing downs. Manti Te’o becomes the next true leader of this defense and his play benefits from a healthy season and steady D-line play. Te’o will finish second on the team in tackles but lead the linebacker unit with 4 interceptions. Melvin Ingram becomes the feared pass rusher off the edge getting 15 sacks this year and comes up big in his contract year becoming the turnover spark plug this team desperately needs.

The secondary will provide the best cornerback unit in all of the NFL. Jason Verrett continues to dominate and lock down opposing receivers. Brandon Flowers returns to form putting last year behind him and becoming a board line pro bowler. Casey Hayward provides great depth and improves an already above average nickel defense. Jahleel Addae improves his coverage skills holding his own while also delivering big hits from time to time. Dwight Lowery also turns in a good campaign solidifying this secondary.

Special teams will play a lot better with the additions of new young players. Drew Kaser will be a top punter in the league and Josh Lambo will also be nearly perfect on his field goal tries.

If these players play to their potential, the Chargers will win the division and make a deep playoff run showing the fans enough to vote for a new stadium on November 8th.

The Chargers will have eight pro bowlers (Rivers, Allen, Slauson, Mebane, Perryman, Ingram, and Verrett) and will give fans the optimism that a Lombardi Trophy is in reach for Phillip Rivers before his career is over.