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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Analysts still torn on Bolts after another unimpressive narrow victory

The Bolts have won their past two games by a combined five points.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers are the winners of three consecutive games and it has them on the doorstep of being 5-2 heading into the bye week should they take care of business at home against the Seahawks.

Seattle is sporting a respectable 3-3 record behind a resurgence of play from quarterback Geno Smith. If the Chargers want to head into their rest week with a fourth-straight win, they’ll need to make Smith look like his pre-2022 form. With dangerous weapons to throw to in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, the Bolts can’t ever allow him to be comfortable in the pocket.

But let’s save all of that for the game previews and such.

Let’s take a look at this week’s power rankings roundup and get a better idea of where the media holds this team heading into week seven.

Bleacher Report - #6

“The Chargers aren’t doing things the easy way, but they are getting the job done. And after out-lasting the Broncos on Monday night, the Bolts are now 4-2 and in a virtual tie with the Kansas City Chiefs atop the AFC West.”

“It’s a far cry from a few weeks ago. After losing a heartbreaker to the Chiefs in which quarterback Justin Herbert injured his ribs, the Chargers were blown out by the Jaguars at home to fall to 1-2. The offense was sporadic. The defense wasn’t playing well. The Chargers were in trouble.”

“Since then, however, the Chargers have peeled off three wins in a row. Granted, the last two came by a combined total of five points.”

“The offense still isn’t playing especially well, although at least part of that can be attributed to the absence of No. 1 receiver Keenan Allen. But the defense is holding its own despite Joey Bosa’s injury, and the Chargers are finding ways to win instead of finding ways to lose.”

“The hope is that Allen will return for this week’s home date with the Seahawks, after which the Bolts will hit their bye.”

“If Los Angeles can enter the break at 5-2, the team will have to be pretty happy with where things stand, given the injuries that have struck both sides of the ball.” - NFL Staff

Sporting News - #6

“The Chargers have quietly fought through their rash of offensive and defensive injuries to get two games above .500 and they continued with just enough from Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler on Monday night against the battered Broncos.” - Vinnie Iyer

The Ringer - #6

“The Chargers are extremely fortunate that sixth-round rookie Ja’Sir Taylor forced a muffed punt and set up the ensuing game-winning field goal in overtime against the Broncos on Monday Night Football. Justin Herbert recorded season highs in dropbacks (61) and completions (37) in the 19-16 win, but he couldn’t make anything happen downfield. He finished the game with just 238 passing yards, zero touchdowns and a pick; his 4.18 yards per attempt average was a season low and ranked 27th among starting quarterbacks in Week 6.”

“Herbert will rebound, but the Bolts’ concerns on early downs are ongoing. The Chargers are moving the chains on first downs just 15.6 percent of the time, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL. They’ve also faced 91 third downs this season, three more than any other team in the league through Week 6. Chasing explosives on first and second down to avoid living on third down is paramount for the team’s postseason aspirations.” - Austin Gayle

Yahoo Sports - #7

“It’s fortunate for the Chargers that the Broncos muffed that punt in overtime, or we’d be talking about how they couldn’t take control of a game that Denver was a no-show for after the first quarter. I’m not sure how good the Chargers are, but they’re 4-2 and not many other teams can say that.” - Frank Schwab

ESPN - #8

“After ranking among the worst units in the NFL (No. 29 overall) allowing an average of 27 points per game in 2021, it was widely thought that the Bolts defense would catapult up the rankings after significant offseason upgrades in personnel. However, despite the additions of All Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, the Chargers remain ranked among the league’s worst defenses (No. 26 overall), allowing an average of 25.3 points per game. And a lack of improvement and performance cannot solely be blamed on the loss of Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa, who was placed on injured reserve after Week 3 after undergoing groin surgery.” - Lindsey Thiry

CBS Sports - #9

“They are 4-2, but they still don’t look right. The offense just isn’t what we expected it to be.” - Pete Prisco - #10

“What to make of the latest Chargers win, a 19-16 overtime conquest of the Broncos? The defense certainly did its job, regularly harassing Russell Wilson and reducing Denver’s “attack” to rubble after a fast start. But what has happened to the L.A. offense? Justin Herbert looked positively pedestrian, averaging 4.2 yards per attempt while leading Los Angeles on a single touchdown drive. At his best, Herbert attacks defenses downfield like no other quarterback, but a prime-time showcase put the gunslinger in constant checkdown mode to Austin Ekeler (10 catches on 16 targets). An elite Broncos defense certainly played a part, but the Bolts can be better.” - Dan Hanzus

Sports Illustrated - #12

“The Chargers are so frustratingly pedestrian offensively, though we’re seeing systems around the league get counterpunched by really good defensive play. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was dismissed early in his last stint as an every-down play-caller. Would Brandon Staley ever consider something similar to shake up the offense, or is this the way the league is right now?” - Conor Orr

The Athletic - #13

“Yikes. An overtime with five possessions and no first downs. A crazy-low 4.2 yards per pass attempt for Justin Herbert on 57 attempts (the lowest for a quarterback with at least 50 attempts in a game since he himself did it in a 45-0 loss as a rookie in 2020). A paltry 73 yards rushing. The Chargers feel like they are wasting Herbert and struggling to do much of anything well, but they’re also 4-2 with Keenan Allen likely returning soon. It could be worse, but it would be hard to look worse.” - Bo Wulf

USA Today - #13

“Good thing they’ve got Dustin Hopkins, who’s apparently the league’s toughest kicker, laboring his way to 13 points – including the game-winning field goal in Monday night’s overtime win.” - Nate Davis

Pro Football Talk - #15

“How has this team won four of six games?” - Mike Florio