A loss to the Broncos understandably dropped the Chargers quite a bit across the media’s power rankings. After the primetime win over the Steelers, they were barely hanging onto their status of a fringe top-10 team. Now after the loss to Denver, they’re barely hanging on to a place in the top half of the league.
At 6-5, the Bolts still have a decent shot at making the playoffs, but a game against the Bengals in Cincinnati is one tall task to overcome en route to finishing strong. We know they can do it, but do they?
In the comments below, let me know if you think the Chargers deserve to be ranked where they are, if they should be higher or low, and why.
Now let’s dive into these rankings.
Sporting News - #13
“The Chargers fell flat in a key division game at Denver that they needed badly with the Raiders winning and the first-place Chiefs idle in the AFC West. Justin Herbert has been a bit wild and there’s also some major defensive inconsistency tied to being poor vs. the run.” - Vinnie Iyer
CBS Sports - #15
“They looked awful on offense for most of the game against the Broncos. Their system is hurting Justin Herbert. Set him free.” - Pete Prisco
USA Today - #15
“Bolts are starting to skew Buffalo West ... which is to say a little too reliant on QB Justin Herbert to carry all phases of the offense.” - Nate Davis
NFL.com - #15
“The same issues continue to crop up for the Chargers, who have lost four of six after their latest setback to the Broncos. The defense can’t stop the run or make game-changing plays, and the offense is painfully inconsistent. The Bolts continued their trend of playing poorly after a win, and an offensive line compromised by injuries has been exposed by a roll call of veteran defensive-minded coaches. Justin Herbert isn’t blameless: He missed open receivers and threw two costly interceptions, but the talented second-year QB isn’t getting enough help. After a 4-1 start to the season, the Chargers have looked like an average team. This just might be what they are.” - Dan Hanzus
ESPN - #16
“The up-and-down Chargers can’t string together wins. One week they’re great; the next week they’re awful. They beat Philadelphia 27-24, then they lost to Minnesota 27-20, then they beat Pittsburgh 41-37, and then they lost Sunday to the Broncos 28-13. One need that is apparent is someone to step up at running back. When Austin Ekeler was in the concussion protocol, there was nobody to fill in. On the season, Justin Jackson has 14 carries for 103 yards, and Larry Rountree III has 36 carries for 87 yards. QB Justin Herbert is their second-best rusher with 243 yards. He need options. They might make the playoffs, but it is iffy for them to go far.” — Shelley Smith
Pro Football Network - #16
“As the kids would say, “woof.” That was an ugly overall performance by the Chargers. They struggled to run the football, and despite being solid defending the run, they weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone on offense.”
“They looked disjointed in the first half and then only possessed the ball once in the third quarter. When the game came down to the wire at 14-7 in the fourth, Justin Herbert threw a red-zone interception that swung the game in the Broncos’ direction.”
“The Chargers have always been particularly good at beating themselves. I said as much in my preview of this game. I just thought Herbert could lift their curse. Maybe he will, but he might not be ready yet in Year 2.” - Dalton Miller