By Dave Thomas
If you look at the results of the Los Angeles Chargers over recent years, they paint a rather dire picture.
In many instances, the Bolts came up on the short end of games they should have won. Flash-forward to 2017 and that disheartening picture is starting to rear its ugly head again.
In the first week of the season, the Chargers found themselves having to rally from 17 points down. Cutting a 24-7 deficit to 24-21, the Bolts came within a field goal of tying the Denver Broncos and taking them into overtime. As Charger fans know, rookie kicker Younghoe Koo had his field goal attempt partially blocked. With that result, Los Angeles fell to 0-1.
Turn the calendar forward less than a week later, the Chargers were in prime position this past Sunday to get a win in their “home” debut at their temporary digs in Carson, California. As fate would have it, Koo missed wide right on a 44-yard field goal attempt. When that kick missed its mark, Los Angeles was then left sitting at 0-2.
Needless to say, some Charger fans (at least the ones who’ve decided to stick with the team), are starting to think “here we go again” this season.
While it is only two games into the season, are the Chargers going to be snake-bitten for the better part of 2017?
Big Win Would Give Team Some Confidence
Although games are not played on paper, paper would tell you that this Sunday’s tilt between the Chargers and AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs would favor the latter.
Off to a 2-0 start (wins over New England and Philadelphia, respectively), the Chiefs seem to be clicking on most if not all cylinders right now. With that being the case, could Los Angeles be headed to an 0-3 start to the season?
While the Chiefs have won six straight in this rivalry, Los Angeles is more than capable of playing with a longtime nemesis such as Kansas City.
To be honest, the confidence level in the Chargers’ locker room after last Sunday’s debacle in front of some 25,000 fans had to hurt. This was a game in which Los Angeles came in a 3.5-point favorite. When all was said and done, the Chargers were back to their old tricks of letting their faithful down.
Does Schedule Offer Any Hope?
Once the Chiefs leave town, the Chargers wrap up their three-game home-stand with a visit from the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 1.
After the Eagles leave town, Los Angeles is set to face the likes of the New York Giants (away), Oakland (away), Denver (home) and lastly New England (away).
Yes, when looking at it on paper, those four games could easily be losses. That said, Los Angeles will want to go at least 3-2 to keep October from turning into a real disaster.
Once you move beyond October, the Chargers have a bye week to open November. From there, dates include Jacksonville (away), Buffalo (home) and Dallas (away on Thanksgiving Day). While Jacksonville and Buffalo could be rather easy wins, you never take anything for granted in the NFL. An away game at Dallas will prove tough, but the Cowboys showed in their blowout loss at Denver this past weekend they are beatable.
So, the next two months will go a long way in determining how the Chargers slide into the final month (December) of the regular season. Getting a win over the rival Chiefs this weekend could be huge for a team that is struggling with its confidence at the moment. A win might also help bring more fans to the next home game the following Sunday.
Despite the positive spin the Spanos family attempts to put on the team’s new temporary home, this franchise is struggling to get its foot in the door in the greater Los Angeles area.
Soaring ticket prices have certainly not helped a franchise looking for an identity. When you have trouble selling out a 27,000-seat soccer stadium, you know the heat is on to do well.
So, will the Chiefs prove to be the answer to the Chargers’ woes? If not, Charger fans could be in for yet another disappointing season.