The Los Angeles Chargers schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but we do know who they will face next season. While there is a long way to go before we have a full idea of how good these teams will be, there has been enough off-season sound and fury to signify something.
Let’s take a look at what we do know about the 2023 Chargers scheduled opponents.
The 2023 Chargers Schedule:
Home: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Bills, Dolphins, Bears, Lions, Cowboys, Ravens
Away: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Patriots, Jets, Packers, Vikings, Titans
Chargers Schedule: The Blue Bloods, The Up and Comers, and The Middle of the Pack
As far as strength of schedule goes, the Chargers will play the 12th hardest schedule based on 2022 win/loss records. They will face seven games against 2022 playoff teams. Their opponent’s average Vegas over/under win total odds is 8.5 games. At first glance that looks like the Chargers have a slightly easier schedule than most, but breaking down each opponent by over/under win total odds tells a different story
Of course, they will face some NFL blue-blood teams in 2023. Kansas City’s over/under is currently a league-high 11.5 wins. Buffalo is not far behind at 10.5. The Chiefs have the highest odds to make the Super Bowl and the Bills have the fourth-best odds.
The Chargers will face off against several up-and-coming teams as well, many of which made the playoffs or nearly did last season. The Cowboys, Jets, Lions, and Dolphins all have an over/under set at 9.5. While the Ravens, Vikings, and Broncos are set at 8.5 wins.
The rest of their games will be played against teams that have a 7.5-win total over/under: Raiders, Bears, Patriots, Packers, and Titans.
According to Vegas oddsmakers, this means the Chargers won’t play any of the NFL’s truly bad squads. Only five of the 14 teams the Chargers play have Super Bowl odds outside of the top half of the league.
10 of the Chargers games will be played against teams that are projected to win between nine and seven games. This means many of these games will have playoff implications.
The Chargers over/under win total is currently 9.5
Chargers Schedule: Teams With New Quarterbacks
Four of the Chargers 2023 opponents have new quarterbacks, but only one is definitively better after making the change; Aaron Rodgers to the Jets (whenever that officially happens). Two others got worse. The Packers lost Rodgers and will likely start Jordan Love. There is still a lot of doubt surrounding Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Both Green Bay and Baltimore are solid franchises and they still have an opportunity to add a viable starting quarterback in the offseason. Adding Jimmy Garoppolo seems like a lateral move than a big step forward or backward for the Raiders.
Chargers Schedule: Offseason Winners
Several of those up-and-coming teams have made important trades and free-agent signings this offseason.
The Dolphins traded for Jalen Ramsey. A big concern of theirs was shoring up the 8th worst pass defense by DVOA. Ramsey will do a lot in that realm. They also added linebacker, David Long. He had the 10th most QB pressures and the 2nd most hurries among linebackers last season and is a good run-stuffing linebacker as well.
The Broncos shored up their offensive line, adding Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey. Russell Wilson was the most sacked quarterback last season.
New York Jets
The Jets have all but sealed the deal to bring Aaron Rodgers to their team, which is enough to put them in the offseason winner’s column.
In the NFC, the Lions added three huge pieces to their secondary; Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Mosely, and CJ Gardner-Johnson. Last year the Lions allowed the second-highest passing yards per attempt and the fifth-most passing first downs. These three will certainly help with that.
Dallas didn’t make any world-changing moves, but the ones they did will make their other players better. Signing Brandin Cooks will make CeeDee Lamb better. Stephon Gilmore will make Trevon Diggs better. Also re-signing Leighton Vander Esch and Tony Pollard was very important. It was also the right time to move on from Ezekiel Elliott, if not a year too late.
Chargers Schedule: Coaching Changes
Only one team the Chargers face has a new head coach, but it is a doozy. Denver hired Sean Payton, who was the most sought-after head coaching candidate in recent memory. There are still plenty of question marks in Denver, but this definitely quieted the questioners for the time being.
It goes without saying, but Payton will improve the offense, which scored the fewest points in the league last season. In Payton’s 15 years as head coach, his teams always scored a lot of points. He has only been outside of the top 10 highest-scoring offenses three times. He was 11th, 12th, and 19th in 2010, 2007, and 2021 respectively.
His hiring is a big reason the Broncos are expected to win between 8-9 games, after winning just five last season. Payton will be joined by his former Saints quarterbacks coach, Joe Lombardi, as his offensive coordinator. Lombardi, of course, was the Chargers OC for the last two seasons.
Denver has also brought in a new defensive coordinator now that Ejiro Evero has moved on to work in Carolina. They brought in Vance Joseph to fill that vacancy. As bad as the Broncos were on offense, their defense was stifling. They held opponents to under 20 points in nine games last season. Evero improved the Denver defense from 20th to 10th by defensive DVOA in just one season.
Joseph has big shoes to fill. Joseph was most recently the defensive coordinator for Arizona, from 2019-22. In 2020 and 2021, his defenses were ranked 4th and 6th by DVOA respectively. He is also a familiar face in Denver. He was the head coach there in 2017 and 2018 where his defenses were 11th and 6th by DVOA.
New Offensive Coordinators:
For the first time in the Patrick Mahomes Era, the Chiefs will be without Eric Bieniemy. He moved on to be the OC of Washington. The Chiefs hired Matt Nagy, who was the Chiefs OC when Mahomes was drafted in 2017, but after an ill-fated stint with the Bears from 2018-2021, Nagy gets a do-over with Andy Reid. Nagy actually spent last season with the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach, which was the job he was in from 2013-2015 before getting the OC job the first time. Deja Vu.
In other re-tread coaching news, the Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett for Aaron Rodgers. They worked together in Green Bay. Hackett tried head coaching in Denver for most of the 2022 season. It didn’t go well, as I mentioned above. He was fired mid-season by the Broncos. Hackett replaces Mike LaFleur who is coincidentally the brother of the head coach in Green Bay.
The Patriots replace two children in a trench coat with Bill O’Brien, who got his NFL coaching start with the Patriots back in 2008 and was their OC in 2011 when they made it to the Super Bowl. O’Brien was the head coach of Penn State from 2012-2013 and the Texans head coach from 2014-2020 and was the OC at Alabama in 2021-22
Dallas replaced Kellen Moore (Now OC of the Chargers) with Brian Schottenheimer.
The Titans promoted Tim Kelly from passing game coordinator.
The Ravens hired Todd Monken from Georgia. He was also the OC for Tampa Bay (16-18) and Cleveland (2019).
New Defensive Coordinators:
The Dolphins double down on improving their defense by adding Vic Fangio. Fangio is the godfather of the defensive system that is proliferating around the league. Jalen Ramsey is the ideal player to add to Fangio’s defense, in that he is super versatile and is a monster zone defender.
The Vikings hired Brian Flores as their new DC. He was the head coach of Miami from 2019-2021. In his first season there, the team had the 32nd-ranked defense by DVOA, by 2021 they were the 10th best.
Chargers Schedule: Draft Order
Detroit is the Chargers opponent that has the highest draft pick. They have the sixth pick in the draft, which they acquired from the Rams in the Matthew Stafford trade. They also have the 18th pick in the first round and five all together in the top 100. They could take a quarterback or trade back to accumulate more picks or add more to the defense.
Las Vegas picks at 7 and has four picks in the top 100 (7,38,70,100) They could add a QB in the first round. They may opt to focus on defense, considering they were 32nd in defense by DVOA.
Chicago traded back from the top spot to nine and also has three more picks in the top 100 (53, 61, 64) They will likely draft a left tackle, but have needs at every position.
The Jets have 3 picks in the first two rounds (13,42,43). I imagine that they will add offensive linemen and weapons for Rodgers.
Miami forfeited its first round and won’t pick till 51.
Denver won’t pick until the 3rd round. They have picks 67 and 68
The Ravens are a bit of a wild card. They have the 22nd overall pick, but that could change with an impending Lamar Jackson trade. They could easily trade into the top five, or get other high picks in a package for Jackson.