The Los Angeles Chargers have tremendous potential to make a significant statement in the AFC West in the 2023 NFL season. With a dynamic young quarterback in Justin Herbert, an improved offensive attack, a now healthy and hungry defense, and other strategic improvements across the board, the Chargers have the ingredients to unseat the reigning AFC West champs, the dominant Kansas City Chiefs. Here are five ways Los Angeles can paint their path to an AFC West title.
5 Ways the Chargers Can Dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC West
1. Justin Herbert’s Ascendance
The Chargers’ success in dethroning the Chiefs largely hinges on the performance of their star quarterback, Justin Herbert. Herbert has shown immense potential in his first three seasons and must continue to evolve in year four. Herbert notched 4,739 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 93.2 last season, which is a drop-off compared to his previous campaigns. Now with adequate receiver depth and offensive mastermind Kellen Moore calling the shots, Herbert is poised for improvement in 2023. It should be a very fun battle between him and Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes for years to come.
2. Wide Receiver Duo
The Chargers possess one of the most underrated receiving duos in the NFL, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. Both are capable of making game-changing plays and shifting momentum in their favor. In 2022, the duo of Allen and Williams combined for 1,647 receiving yards, 129 receptions, and an average catching percentage of 70.95%. The continued production of both receivers will be vital to outlasting the high-powered Chiefs offense, who finished as the best offense overall last season.
3. Improved defense
The Chargers need to be better in almost every aspect of defense to withstand the Chiefs’ offense. Key players like Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and J.C. Jackson need to stay healthy and perform consistently. In 2022, the Chargers ranked 21st overall in total defense, giving up 5,884 yards, and allowing 384 points to be scored against them. The good news for Los Angeles is, that everyone is healthy again. But the question remains, can they stay physically fit?
4. Coaching Strategies
It’s no shock to anyone that head coach Brandon Staley is heavily criticized. After many questionable and head-scratching decisions by Staley in 2022, he will be looking to improve drastically in 2023. His defensive expertise and analytical approach can benefit the Chargers’ chances to be able to halt the commanding Chiefs offense. Furthermore, new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore looks to bring a stronger air attack to the Chargers’ offense, which should unlock Herberts’ potential to a greater degree. Of course, the Chiefs have head coach Andy Reid on their side, who is one of the best coaches in shutting down combating strategies and exposing opponents’ weaknesses. If Staley can improve on his strategic approach, it may put the Chargers over the top.
5. Turnover Battle
Winning the turnover battle against the Chiefs is crucial. Creating turnovers while protecting the ball on offense can significantly impact the outcome of games. The Los Angeles Chargers in the previous season produced 24 total turnovers, which ranked eleventh in the league. The Chiefs put together 20 turnovers, putting them 20th in the NFL. However, when it came to playing against each other, it was the Chiefs that won the turnover battle 3-1. If the Chargers can flip the script in the turnover aspect, they should be able to withstand Kansas City.
The Los Angeles Chargers have all the ingredients and talent to surpass the Kansas City Chiefs in 2023. With a star in Justin Herbert, an enriched offense, and a renewed emphasis and defense, the Chargers are well-equipped to challenge the Chiefs for an AFC West title, setting the stage for what will be an electrifying battle for AFC West supremacy in 2023.