The NFL schedule has dropped, and so of course in response, the Los Angeles Chargers social media team dropped another schedule release video in anime format because why not? In the meantime, looking at the schedule itself, there are plenty of games to be excited about – or nervous about, depending on how you look at it. The team is also getting a grand total of six (!) primetime games this year. Some games will undeniably be more important than others, at any rate. So let’s take a look at some of the most pivotal games on the Chargers schedule, ranking from least to most important.
Most Important Games on the Los Angeles Chargers Schedule
Miami Dolphins, Week 1: Rematch With Tua for the Season Opener
For better or for worse, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa have been drawn into a war of attrition – at least off the field, anyway. Neither team nor quarterback has any particular personal rivalry with each other, but thanks in part to warring fans and Emmanuel Acho, there is going to be some degree of comparison following these two for a while (assuming Tagovailoa can stay healthy and in the league, anyway).
The last time these two teams met late in the season last year, the Chargers played one of their most complete games of the year, but the defense shone in particular, locking down the wide receiver duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Now in 2023, the Chargers have improved their arsenal a little, but the Dolphins look to be improved on defense as well.
Given that this is the season opener, whoever wins this is going to set the tone for the early part of the season.
Dallas Cowboys, Week 6: Apprentice vs Master
The Cowboys are a fellow playoff contender, so this game does slide a little higher on the importance scale for that reason alone. But what bumps it up higher is that this will involve new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore returning to face the team that canned him at the end of last season – and on Monday Night Football, no less.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Kellen Moore will be trying to prove that the Cowboys made a mistake by cutting him loose, and on the flip side, the Cowboys will likely have insight on how to stop Moore’s offense, so Moore may need to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Even without that, this is a fearsome defensive line that the Chargers will be facing, so no matter how you look at it, this will be a good test of how the Chargers offense is faring under Moore.
Baltimore Ravens, Week 12: More AFC Showdowns
On one hand, how this game plays out will likely depend on if Lamar Jackson is in top form or not – and whether he’s healthy. But even if Jackson is only playing average, this team can be a tough opponent given their defense and running game. And then there’s the added element of them having upgraded at offensive coordinator this offseason and added a couple of extra weapons. The intent is evidently for them to have a more explosive offense.
The last time these two teams met in 2021, the Chargers received a 34-6 beatdown. Both teams look a bit different now, but the Chargers are going to be looking to do better this time. Aside from their first meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs, this would be a good opportunity for them to make a statement in the AFC, and on the primetime stage no less.
Buffalo Bills, Week 16: Playoff Preview?
This late-season matchup between two quarterbacks with rocket arms will definitely be one of the most critical games of the season. Depending on how things play out, these two teams could end up meeting up again at some point in the playoffs. Against Josh Allen and his array of weapons, the Chargers defense will need to be at the top of their game. But more than likely, this will come down to quarterback play.
This will be another primetime game for them, and this late in the season, will likely have playoff seeding ramifications. Plenty of reasons for this to rank among the most important games of the season on the Los Angeles Chargers schedule.
Kansas City Chiefs, Weeks 7 & 18: For Obvious Reasons
Both games qualify here. Each of the last four games these two teams has played have gone down to the wire, but the Chargers have only won one of them. In 2022 they lost both games – by a combined six points. These games have generally come down to whoever has had the ball last. The Chiefs are their primary rival right now, and their toughest one as well, given that they’re the reigning Super Bowl Champions and have the reigning league MVP.
Of these two matchups, Week 7 is a little more likely to be the more important one. There’s always the chance in Week 18 that one or both of these teams will be locked into their playoff spot and will be resting their starters (well, maybe Brandon Staley won’t, but you get the point). Week 7 will have no such limitations.
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