Tha Sports Junkies 101

Predicting Each Game of the Chargers 2016 Season

Prediction Perry J Hughes via


The San Diego Chargers play in a tough AFC West and many people aren’t anticipating anything higher than a 4th place finish. Here’s my prediction for every game with reasoning behind it.

When making a prediction, you have to factor in injury concerns, setting, and much more. It’s hard to have confidence in your team when you play in a division with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, and the Oakland Raiders. Denver and Kansas City are already proven, with both expected to have big seasons in 2016. The Broncos are obviously defending Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs surprised some last year as they won their last 10 regular season games and won a playoff game. The Raiders may be the most hyped team in the NFL this year. People are expecting them to overtake this division and win the whole thing.

Now, for the Chargers. I will break down every single game and tell you what I think the outcome will be and why. The Chargers struggled very badly in 2015, but they had so many injuries it was almost like their second team defense and offenses played half of the season. This campaign will be a little different.

Week 1: Away vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Prediction: Chargers – 17, Chiefs – 24

It’s hard not to look at this being a 0-1 start for San Diego. It’s on the road. It’s week 1. The Chiefs have huge expectations for this campaign and their home crowd is a serious advantage for them. It will be a close one, and I see Keenan Allen burning Marcus Peters for around 12 catches. But, it will be the Chiefs defense and the proficiency of Alex Smith that will close this one out. I also expect Jamaal Charles to go off in his first game back.

Week 2: Home vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Prediction: Chargers – 31, Jaguars – 24

It’s impossible not to think there’s a shootout coming here. The Jaguars defense is supposedly “scary”, but I just don’t see it. Especially this early. Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen will connect early and often, and I see Melvin Gordon having a solid game here after having a rough opening week. It will be close, but I think San Diego will contain the Allen brothers and get the win here in their first home game of the season.

Week 3: Away vs. Indianapolis Colts

Prediction: Chargers – 28, Colts – 20

This game will be a nail biter. With the Colts being much improved with a revamped Andrew Luck, it will be close. But the Colts defense is just awful. I don’t have this score too outrageous, but I just don’t think the Colts will stop the Chargers enough to get this win. Yes, the Chargers will start the season off 2-1.

Week 4: Home vs. New Orleans Saints

Prediction: Chargers – 14, Saints – 24

Another game that could go either way. Philip Rivers and this Chargers offense should torch the defense they’re going up against this week if you look at last year. But, after two weeks of lighting it up, I see a little letdown for San Diego here. Drew Brees will be himself. Although I don’t think Brandin Cooks will have a big game here because of Jason Verrett, this game will be the coming out party for rookie Michael Thomas. Still, Chargers fans should be okay with a 2-2 beginning.

Week 5: Away vs. Oakland Raiders

Prediction: Chargers – 17, Raiders – 31

For the first division game of the year, I have the Chargers suffering defeat via their oh so hated rivals in the Raiders. I think Philip Rivers plays well, but I see Gordon struggling here against a pretty stout run defense. Derek Carr will hook up with Michael Crabtree more often than not. I will always have confidence in whoever is being guarded by Verrett to have a bad game, but I don’t think San Diego has the guys to slow down two star caliber receivers. Also, watch out for Latavius Murray to have a sneaky quiet 100 yard game here. For the first time in 2016, San Diego will be below .500 in the record column.

Week 6: Home vs. Denver Broncos

Prediction: Chargers – 17, Broncos – 13

This is my first surprise in San Diego’s favor. This could still be the point in the season where Denver is switching quarterbacks, and this may very well be the first start of Paxton Lynch’s career. Whether it involves a quarterback switch or not, I’m not huge on any of the three guys competing for the signal caller spot on Denver. I think San Diego steals one here as the Broncos settle for too many field goals.

Week 7: Away vs. Atlanta Falcons

Prediction: Chargers – 27, Falcons – 24

Look, the Falcons were an absolute mess last year. It’s hard to tell what will happen. Julio Jones could have an off game here, of course because Verrett will be guarding him. I am very high on this corner back. I see him, along with Keenan Allen moving in to the top 5 of their positions this year. Philip Rivers will slice this defense up, and Travis Benjamin catches a 50+ yard touchdown in this game to seal it late. The Chargers will be 4-3 after they travel to Atlanta.

Week 8: Away vs. Denver Broncos

Prediction: Chargers – 10, Broncos – 24

As much as I had the game going in San Diego’s favor 2 weeks ago, it will be the polar opposite in this game. I just cannot give the Chargers two wins against the defending super bowl champs this season. The Broncos will still be figuring out their quarterback situation at this point, but they’ll still grab a win from the Chargers at home. Back to .500 for the Bolts.

Week 9: Home vs. Tennessee Titans

Prediction: Chargers – 30, Titans – 10

This one will be a clobbering by the Chargers. Although I do see the Titans being improved this year, their passing weapons are just way too shaky. The Chargers will load the box and stop Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. On the offensive side of the ball, Philip Rivers should carve this defense up. Antonio Gates will have a breakout game this week, going for a couple touchdowns.

Week 10: Home vs. Miami Dolphins

Prediction: Chargers – 21, Dolphins – 17

The Dolphins just do not come across to me as a successful team this year. As of now Devante Parker is still not proven, and Jarvis Landry only goes as far as Ryan Tannehill will let him (which won’t be far). There is backfield questions with Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster, and I really cannot picture Foster still being healthy at this point in the year. I think this will be very close, but Melvin Gordon will score late to propel San Diego to 6-4 on the year.

Week 11: Bye week

The Chargers get their bye week relatively late this year, but it’s a pretty good time for it. They’ll head into it with two manageable games that I expect them to win.

Week 12: Away vs. Houston Texans

Prediction: Chargers – 13, Texans – 24

San Diego will have an extra week to think about J.J. Watt being healthy again and rushing Philip Rivers, but thinking will do them no good. It’s easy to picture Watt taking this game over, getting a strip sack and returning it for a touchdown to seal the game. Osweiler will be in his groove with Nuk Hopkins at this point, and even I will admit that Jason Verrett can’t lock this beast of a man down by himself. The Chargers offense will struggle also, as the Texans will cause havoc in the backfield all game. A loss off the bye is to come here for the Chargers.

Week 13: Home vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Prediction: Chargers – 27, Buccaneers – 20

The Chargers will come out ready to play after getting stopped in their tracks by Houston the week before. Jameis Winston and the guys will have something to say about this, but I see Verrett shutting down Mike Evans and who knows if Doug Martin will even be healthy at this point of the year. The Chargers will give up some scores, but they’ll get just enough out of Keenan Allen to get the win. This will send the Chargers to 7-5.

Week 14: Away vs. Carolina Panthers

Prediction: Chargers – 7, Panthers – 31

I don’t see this one being close. Kelvin Benjamin will be completely back at this point, and Cam Newton will be himself. The Panthers defense will be a force to be reckoned with this year, regardless of the loss of Josh Norman. Coming into this game at 7-5 and more than likely 2 games out of the division lead, the Chargers will disappoint here and come back to earth.

Week 15: Home vs. Oakland Raiders

Prediction: Chargers – 28, Raiders – 24

In the rematch between in-state rivals, the Chargers will come out on top. The Raiders will have lived up to their hype at this point, coming in at around 9-4. But, San Diego is known for beating teams in dagger fashion. This will be one of those games. Instead of being 7-7 and out of the race, the Chargers will move to 8-6 and be 2 games out of the division lead once again. Although it’s late in the year and the division will be almost out of reach, San Diego will be a game out of the wild card at this point.

Week 16: Away vs. Cleveland Browns

Prediction: Chargers – 38, Browns – 21

The Chargers will put up a lot of points this game. Coming off the win against Oakland and a chance at the wild card, the Chargers will not blow it by losing to Cleveland. Robert Griffin will have a good year, but Jason Verrett will shut down whoever his main target will be at that point. Travis Benjamin will be the X-factor here, as Keenan Allen will take Joe Haden away and Benjamin will thrive against his old team. Going into week 17, the Chargers will still have something to play for.

Week 17: Home vs. Chiefs

Prediction: Chargers – 24, Chiefs – 27

It will be a nail biter. The Chargers will be in a “win and you’re in” situation. The Chiefs will be tied with the Broncos for the division lead and they’ll be playing at the same time. The Raiders will be fighting for a wild card spot too, as they play the Broncos week 17. This will be an exciting Sunday for the whole division. But, in the end, the Chiefs will win the division and the Broncos will make the wild card. The Raiders and Chargers will be on the outside looking in, just like last year.  Philip Rivers will play his absolute heart out, but the defense just won’t get it done. I see Jamaal Charles going off this game again, torching the Chargers and taking the division.

Record: 9-7

In the end, it will be another heart break for the Chargers. The playoffs will be screaming their name, and it will be a failure again. Last year, it seemed as if Philip Rivers could just call it a career and retire at any moment just to get off the team. This year will be different. It will be a work in progress for San Diego. The addition of Benjamin will help them a lot, and Antonio Gates will teach rookie Hunter Henry how to be a star in this league. The Chargers are still in a sort of rebuilding stage, but they will get there. It will take a couple more years, but the Chargers will be at the top of this division again. The pieces are coming together, and it will start to gel this year. Unfortunately, they play in one of the best divisions in football if not the best. They’ll fall just short this year, but it will give Philip Rivers and the rest of the guys much more confidence coming into next year.