2020 Los Angeles Chargers Predictions and Season Win Total Picks
Tyrod Taylor has been viewed as a placeholder for his entire career. In Buffalo, after three solid years as a starter, he was cast aside and replaced by rookie Josh Allen. In Cleveland he was given just three games as a starter before being cast aside and replaced by rookie Baker Mayfield.
Now the 30-year-old Taylor, entering his 10th season, is being treated as a bridge quarterback again. This time Taylor is just keeping the seat warm for Los Angeles Chargers No. 1 draft pick Justin Herbert. Some analysts even think that Herbert could win the starting job by the end of September.
Not me. I think Taylor is going to have a career year. And I think that the Chargers are going to be a player in an absolutely loaded AFC West.
Two years ago this group won 12 games and lost in the divisional round. The Chargers flopped in the face of The Hype last year, though, going just 5-11. They were one of the biggest statistical underachievers in the NFL in 2019, coming up nearly three wins short of their Pythagorean win total.
Last year was kind of a frustrating mess for Los Angeles. They lost a league-high nine games by a touchdown or less, including several games on fluke plays in the final seconds. The Chargers were wracked by injuries, and both their defensive and offensive yards per point numbers are in a range that screams regression.
But the biggest issue for this team last year was turnovers. Their -16 turnover margin was second-worst in the NFL. The primary culprit in that turnover margin: Philip Rivers’ 20 interceptions. The irony of this? Last year’s Chargers would’ve been better off with Taylor – who has thrown only 20 interceptions in his 70-game career – than they would’ve with Rivers, a potential Hall of Famer.
This is still one of the more talented rosters in football. The Chargers finished in the Top 10 in both offense and defense last year, and its young core seems to be entering its prime. The Chargers defense has five players – Joey Bosa, Linval Joseph, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Chris Harris – that have played in the Pro Bowl. They have three more Pro Bowlers on offense. And that doesn’t count last year’s breakout Charger, explosive Austin Ekeler.
Taylor is a capable NFL quarterback. He completes 62 percent of his passes. He doesn’t turn the ball over (at all). He can run and moves in the pocket well. He can make throws and actually has a winning record as a starting quarterback in his career. If Taylor can provide above average quarterback play, I think there is more than enough talent around him for the Chargers to be very good this year.
The Chargers play in one of the best divisions in football. So six games against the Chiefs, Raiders and Broncos won’t be an easy task. But the schedule is extremely favorable beyond that. They face one of the league’s worst divisions, the AFC East, and they draw the Patriots at home. Los Angeles also faces the NFC South and gets very winnable games against Carolina and Atlanta at home. And their swing games come against Cincinnati and Jacksonville, two last-place teams from 2019.
If Los Angeles can split its divisional games, split its games against the AFC East and NFC South, and then win its two swing games, then that’s nine victories right there. Just one extra win – maybe an upset over the Patriots or an extra divisional wins – would get them to 10 and put them in the heart of the playoff race. And even if they give away one of their games, they would still hit eight wins and beat this number.
Take Los Angeles Chargers ‘Over’ 7.5 Wins.
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