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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Bolts sit amongst top half of NFL entering Week 1

The Chargers begin the 2023 NFL season ranked amongst the top half of the league entering week one.

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NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It’s officially game week! The Chargers play an actual NFL game that matters this Sunday at hime inside SoFi Stadium!

With the regular season officially kicking off this Thursday, many outlets are quickly tossing out their final pre-season editions of their NFL power rankings. That sounds like a good time to restart our power rankings roundup series where we compile as many external rankings as we can find and put them all in one convenient place for you all each week.

With that said, let’s go ahead and dive right in!

Touchdown Wire - #9

“Speaking of teams I’m not confident in having confidence in, it’s the poster child for wasted confidence- the Los Angeles Chargers. Justin Herbert got his money, as he should have, but the Chargers have the same problem as the Ravens- they can’t stay healthy. If they do, then this offense should be quite good with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The defense also has a lot of studs, but they really need to clean up how they defend the run. I know I probably shouldn’t drink the Chargers Kool-Aid again, but they are the Jake Gyllenhaal to my Heath Ledger- I just can’t quit them.” - Jarrett Bailey

The Athletic - #9

Best-case scenario: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore proves to be the adult in the room Justin Herbert needed all along, and the offensive scheme finally embraces the power of his downfield passing ability after ranking a preposterous 31st in air yards per pass attempt a season ago. Last year’s injuries along the offensive line prove to be a blessing in disguise, and Rashawn Slater and Zion Johnson form the best left side of an offensive line in the NFL. The defense remains about league average, but Joey Bosa and Derwin James help turn it into a turnover-forcing menace. Injuries in Kansas City open up the division to Los Angeles’ taking.”

Worst-case scenario: For what feels like the 100th consecutive year, the Chargers underperform their underlying ability and choke away another lead to close the season. Change-averse ownership chooses to run it all back again anyway.” - Bo Wulf

Bleacher Report - #10

“The Los Angeles Chargers have talent galore on both sides of the ball.”

“There’s a star quarterback in Justin Herbert. An excellent running back in Austin Ekeler. A formidable trio of wideouts in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Quentin Johnston. A solid offensive line. Two high-end edge-rushers in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. A pair of the league’s best defensive backs in cornerback J.C. Jackson and safety Derwin James.”

“And all that has added up to absolutely nothing the past two years.”

“In 2021, the Chargers needed a Week 18 win over the Las Vegas Raiders to make the postseason and blew it. Last year, they were up 27-0 over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Wild Card Round and proceeded to blow the third-largest lead in postseason history.”

“The Chargers brought in a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore in an effort to take Herbert’s game to a new level, and Dan Graziano of ESPN believes the quarterback could be headed toward an MVP-caliber season:

“‘Moore helped build Dak Prescott into a top NFL quarterback during his time in Dallas. It’s no insult to Prescott to say Herbert has more raw talent, because Herbert might have more raw quarterback talent than anyone. Chargers coach Brandon Staley told me that he thinks Moore excels at not bogging down the QB with ancillary stuff, and that it will allow Herbert to play faster and more aggressively this season. The Chargers believe they saw evidence of this throughout camp and that their fourth-year signal-caller could be headed to another level.’”

“The 25-year-old could lead the league in passing yards and win Most Valuable Player, but if that doesn’t also translate to success in the playoffs, 2023 will be viewed the same way as 2021 and 2022.”

““At what point does potential turn into production? The Los Angeles Chargers are often viewed as one of the league’s most talented teams,’ Sobleski said. ‘Yet they’ve only made the playoffs once in the last five years.’”

“‘Head coach Brandon Staley enters a make-or-break year, where his team must prove its among the AFC’s best with Justin Herbert leading the way. Otherwise, change could be forthcoming.’” - #12

“Is Justin Herbert ready to make an MVP run? I’m not ruling it out. The Chargers’ offensive line is as strong as it has been since his arrival. Assuming good health, I would say the same thing about the wide receivers. Austin Ekeler is back, still likely motivated by his contract desires. Throw in some weapons at tight end, and everything is there for Herbert to have a monster season — even with a wicked schedule. Last season, Herbert played through a painful rib injury and a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. That shortened some of his pass attempts and minimized the threat of him scrambling. With Herbert and the offensive line healthy, new coordinator Kellen Moore can marry his north-south run game and vertical passing game to make this one of the NFL’s most dangerous units.” - Eric Edholm

Yahoo Sports - #14

“The reports on first-round receiver Quentin Johnston weren’t great. It also wasn’t great that he played a lot in the preseason while Los Angeles’ starters sat. Josh Palmer didn’t play at all in the preseason, indicating Johnston hasn’t passed him on the depth chart. There’s still plenty of time for Johnston to get involved, but it might be slow at the beginning.” - Frank Schwab

Pro Football Network - #16

“The Chargers are just the brightly-colored Browns, right? Every year it’s time to take the next step and break generational curses, but we’re eventually let down. The Falcons and Chargers have even become verbs, meaning to screw up a good situation.”

“At what point do we stop believing that Brandon Staley can make his defense work with the pieces he has in LA? A ridiculously high-powered offense can put the Chargers over the top, but do they have the speed to get the job done?” - Dalton Miller