If you haven’t been tuning in, this is officially the doldrums of the NFL offseason. There aren’t many areas that our favorite teams can compete with each other during baseball season, but there are still ways we can cheer our teams on: Power Rankings!
ESPN released its first ‘official’ Football Power Index for the 2018/2019 season. These rankings are more than just writer opinions—they take in offense, defense, QB, backup QB, returning starters, and Vegas Sportsbook numbers to tabulate their ranking system. The Vegas projections are already one of the most accurate ways to gauge next-year success, but ESPN modifies those numbers with personnel turnover in mind.
The Chargers come in at number 11 on the list, which is already a pretty good sign for the team. What is even more impressive is that only the Patriots and the Steelers are above them in the AFC. Other than the Eagles snuggling between those at #2, these impressive teams make up the top 3. The Chiefs hit the board at #13.
Super Bowl Bound?
The Football Power Index also prognosticates postseason chances, and their findings might be of interest to Chargers fans. They mark the Chargers at 8.7 wins in 2018. They also predict a 54% chance of reaching the playoffs, 37% chance of clinching the division, 8% chance of making the Super Bowl, and 4% chance of winning the whole darn thing.
If that sounds a bit low, it is because nothing is a sure thing in the NFL. The Chiefs have an 8.6 wins/51%/33%/7%/3% stat line for the same. The Raiders have a 20% chance of winning the division, and the Broncos are looking at a 10% chance.
Interestingly, aside from the Packers, there is only one other team favored by the FPI calculations to win its division that didn’t win it last year: the Chargers (37%). The Packers did not have Aaron Rodgers very much last year, so don’t underestimate this stat.
All of that said, my analysis of these numbers doesn’t necessarily indicate an incredible leap in odds for the Chargers this year. Instead, I think that we’ve seen the Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders all get worse since the beginning of last season. The Chargers have maintained their status quo and/or improved, and should be very optimistic about this coming season.
-Jason “Another winning week in the books” Michaels