The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t had an ideal start to the 2023 season as they’ve begun the season 0-2. However, their two losses have been close as they lost to the Dolphins 36-34 and the Titans 27-24. That being said, the Chargers shouldn’t panic about their slow start as they can turn their season around.
Why the Chargers Shouldn’t Panic Despite Slow Start
Justin Herbert Is Off to a Strong Start
Sure, the Chargers aren’t off to a strong start to the season, but that certainly isn’t quarterback Justin Herbert’s fault. Herbert still hasn’t thrown an interception this season and he has an impressive 102 quarterback rating through the first two games. He has had to carry the team at times especially during the Titans game with Austin Ekeler out due to injury. The Chargers know that they can count on Herbert to carry the offense as long as he can continue to stay healthy. Herbert is already one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and he has the potential to make this team a playoff contender even if he doesn’t get much help from the running game or the defense.
The AFC West Is Off to a Slow Start
The Chiefs appear to be the heavy favorites once again to win the AFC West, yet they are only one game up on the Chargers at 1-1. Los Angeles has enough talent to compete with the Chiefs for the AFC West title this season. In particular, the Chargers offense is just as talented as the Chiefs offense is. It’ll be interesting to see how the two matchups with Kansas City play out, but it’ll ultimately depend on how well the Chargers defense can stop Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are also one game back of the Las Vegas Raiders, which is less concerning because that is a team that they should be able to easily beat. The Raiders just don’t have the defense that will be able to stop the Chargers high-scoring offense. Also, Las Vegas doesn’t have enough firepower on offense to match the points that the Chargers are able to put up.
Finally, the Denver Broncos are also off to a slow start in the AFC West as they are 0-2 to begin the season. Denver is a team that the Chargers should be able to beat this season in large part thanks to their vastly superior offense. However, the Broncos do have a good enough defense to keep things close and potentially cause an upset if the Chargers aren’t careful.
Either way, the Chiefs are the only proven threat in the AFC West right now and they are only 1 game up on the Chargers. There are still plenty of games left and the Chargers have yet to play a divisional matchup. Let’s wait until that happens to make a determination about whether the Chargers should panic this season or not.
The Chargers Running Game Should Improve, Especially When Austin Ekeler Gets Healthy
We saw in Week 1 what the Chargers could accomplish in the running game when Austin Ekeler is healthy as they ran for a whopping 233 yards against the Dolphins. However, without Ekeler in Week 2, they managed just 61 rushing yards. They’ll be without Ekeler once again in Week 3 due to injury, so they’ll need backup running back Joshua Kelley to be much better than he was last week. However, Ekeler shouldn’t be out too much longer which means that the Chargers offense shouldn’t be forced to be too one-dimensional.
We all know that the Chargers are a much better offense when Ekeler is healthy and productive, so having him back will be key to making this team a playoff contender once again. They should be getting him back from his ankle injury sooner rather than later, so there shouldn’t be much reason to panic about the Chargers running game in the long term.
Los Angeles might be 0-2, but they aren’t that far behind in the AFC West. The Chargers have suffered a couple of close losses this season and they have too much talent on their roster in order to panic at this moment. They should still be a playoff contender this season and it should only be a matter of time before they get on a roll with Justin Herbert leading the way.
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