That’s right folks, the Los Angeles Chargers are headed to the Super Bowl. Well, not really. Or at least, not yet. However, a recent tweet from Brian Burke over at ESPN shows why it might not be as farfetched as your probably imagining.
Team Expected Points Added per Game. Offense on x-axis, defense on y. Up and right is good. Jags offense getting better. Can slide GB, HOU left by about 5 points. pic.twitter.com/f0jhsiLslH— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) November 8, 2017
Since 2000, Super Bowl winners come from the area northeast of the red curve. You can be below average on one side of the ball, just not by very much. pic.twitter.com/eeW1TyPx9C— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) November 8, 2017
As Burke explains, the graph represents “expected points added per game” on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Teams that end up winning the Super Bowl typically find themselves within the curve shown. Here is last season’s graph showing where the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots found themselves within the curve.
This was last (regular) season. Check out the Rams offense, NE defense. pic.twitter.com/SNCz0yhh28— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) November 8, 2017
Going back to this seasons graph, we see the Chargers just barely within the curve of champions. What I’m seeing is that there is a chance. In fact, I’m going to start planning my Chargers themed Super Bowl party right now. Yeah, you think I’m joking. If you're still not quite convinced the Bolts could make a run Lombardi trophy, allow me to offer this chart from ESPN’s Mike Clay as more evidence of the Chargers having what it takes.
Where each NFL team currently ranks in Off TDs scored and Def TDs allowed per game. Totaled/sorted/ranked. pic.twitter.com/V2OFhjG65W— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 9, 2017
According to Clay's chart, the Chargers are currently in the top 10 for offensive touchdowns scored per game, and just above average in defensive touchdowns allowed per game.
It’s easy to look at the Chargers and see a team that is 3-4 with a new head coach still finding his way, players not playing to their potential, and an inability to finish close games. If you choose to look at it that way, that’s fair. Though it would also be fair to point out that the Chargers are only a couple games behind the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs, and close behind other teams in the AFC that may be looking at a wild card spot come playoff time. The other teams in the AFC West, or just the AFC for the most part, aren't exactly setting the league on fire. And there is still a lot of football left to play.
The Chargers are coming out of their bye week the healthiest they have been in recent memory while major injuries are seemingly striking teams throughout the league. They have immense talent on both sides of the ball in Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Ingram among others. If they figure out how to harness that talent, and stop beating themselves, the Chargers could realistically make a run at the playoffs.
And then they win the Super Bowl. Because the chart says so.