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Power Rankings: Week 1

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How does the rest of the world view the Chargers?

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Well folks, our long national nightmare is over— the deadzone has ended, and the first week of football is in the books! The Chargers took on a formidable Indianapolis Colts team this week and, luckily, enter week 2 with a win. Each week we will tabulate some of the top sports authorities’ NFL team rankings to chart how the Chargers are viewed in a national lens.

For the purposes of fairness, team blogs from the AFC West and establishments with an obvious bias will not be tabulated in team averages, but might be included occasionally to give you an idea how a certain team views the Bolts (for instance, it can be interesting to see how the Chiefs view the Chargers, and whether or not they rank themselves higher or lower).

By the time the dust settled last year, the Chargers were an obvious top-10 team:

2018 Year-End Average Ranking: 6.1

2018 Year-End Most Common Ranking: 6.0 & 7.0

Their highest average ranking last year was 4.0, and their lowest was 14. Essentially, the Chargers began the season with a better-than-average expectation and left with a solid national improvement.

So, without further ado:

ESPN

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. New Orleans Saints

4. Los Angeles Rams

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Dallas Cowboys

7. Los Angeles Chargers

Preseason ranking: 6

Rookie who flashed: Drue Tranquill, LB

How the newcomer starred: The fourth-round selection didn’t play a snap on defense. However, he played 16 snaps on special teams, finishing with a tackle and a partially blocked punt in his first NFL game. If he can continue to make plays on special teams, the Notre Dame product could earn some defensive snaps for the Chargers down the road. -- Eric D. Williams

8. Baltimore Ravens

9. Minnesota Vikings

10. Green Bay Packers

USA Today

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Minnesota Vikings

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Baltimore Ravens

6. Los Angeles Chargers

Preseason Ranking: 6

RB Melvin Gordon isn’t collecting a paycheck while looking utterly expendable during his holdout. This seems to be backfiring.

7. Dallas Cowboys

8. Tennessee Titans

9. Los Angeles Rams

10. Philadelphia Eagles

NFL.com

1. New England Patriots

2. Los Angeles Rams

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Dallas Cowboys

7. Minnesota Vikings

8. Seattle Seahawks

9. Baltimore Ravens

10. Green Bay Packers

11. Chicago Bears

12. Los Angeles Chargers

Pre-season rank: No. 11

Melvin Gordon’s cosmically doomed holdout just encountered another setback. Austin Ekeler, who has replaced Gordon in the starting lineup, piled up 154 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Chargers began their season by knocking off the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Ekeler was part of a committee attack with Justin Jackson, who ran for 57 yards on just six carries. Philip Rivers showed no rust after a preseason spent entirely on the sideline, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest concern for the Bolts after Week 1? Their run defense, which was a major issue in their playoff loss to the Patriots in January and a problem again against a Colts team that went over 200 yards on the ground.

Bleacher Report

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. New Orleans Saints

4. Los Angeles Rams

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Dallas Cowboys

7. Green Bay Packers

8. Los Angeles Chargers

Pre-season rank: 11

If Melvin Gordon III was hoping the Los Angeles Chargers would realize how badly they needed him after Sunday’s game with the Colts, that didn’t quite work out as planned.

If the Chargers’ overtime win was any indication, the Bolts will be just fine whether Gordon is in L.A. or not.

With Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson leading the charge in Gordon’s absence, the Chargers piled up 125 yards on 21 carries. Ekeler also caught six passes for 96 yards and two scores, bringing his total stat line to 154 yards and three trips to the end zone.

The Chargers amassed 435 yards of total offense in the win, and the AFC West has the look of a two-horse race between a pair of talented teams.

The Chiefs are more explosive. The Chargers are better defensively. And just like in 2018, this could go down to the wire.

9. Chicago Bears

10. Baltimore Ravens

SI.com

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Los Angeles Rams

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Dallas Cowboys

7. Minnesota Vikings

8. Los Angeles Chargers

Pre-season Rank: 10

Yes, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson made up for Melvin Gordon’s absence, but on the other side the Chargers gave up 174 yards on the ground to Marlon Mack. Concerning.

9. Green Bay Packers

10. Seattle Seahawks

ProFootballTalk

1. New England Patriots

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Philadelphia Eagles

4. Dallas Cowboys

5. Los Angeles Rams

6. Seattle Seahawks

7. New Orleans Saints

8. Minnesota Vikings

9. Green Bay Packers

10. Los Angeles Chargers

Pre-season Rank: 10

Another close game, another win for the Chargers.


TOTALS

Average Pre-season Rank: 9.0

Average Week 1 Rank: 8.5

Most Common Week 1 Rank: 8.0

Average number of calories in an entire watermelon: 1, 317

So there we have it— the Chargers did not impress in their 2019 debut, but they did win. That, alone, catapults them above 18 other teams (LOL to a tie in week 1), but they let a feisty Colts team get waaaay too close. Had they drubbed Indianapolis, they might have jumped to around #6 average, but 8.5 seems about right for now.

We will all know soon-enough whether or not they are for real this year, as week 1 didn’t tell us much. Expectations both grounded and astronomic seem equally plausible at this juncture.

-Jason “I love ranking things” Michaels