The 2020 NFL season ended in disappointment for the Los Angeles Chargers, who failed to make the playoffs. They finished in 11th place in the American Football Conference, having lost 9 of their 16 regular-season games. The Los Angeles Chargers came third in the AFC West, behind the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, so there is work to do ahead of the 2021 campaign. The question is, how can the Chargers make the playoffs in the upcoming season?
Going back to the 2008 season, there has always been at least one new head coach to lead a team to the playoffs, and in 2021 that could be Brandon Staley of the LA Chargers. Staley worked as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator but has since made the step up to head coach for the LA Chargers. The move comes following the firing of Anthony Lynn at the end of the disappointing 2020 season.
There is no doubting the ability of Staley as a defensive coach, in fact, he is one of the best in the business. On top of that, the new coach will inherit one of the hottest prospects in the NFL at quarterback, in Justin Herbert. In terms of all the head coach vacancies ahead of the 2021 campaign, the Chargers was arguably the most attractive purely because of the presence of Herbert on the team. This gives the new head coach an opportunity to win immediately, especially with the likes of edge-rusher Joey Bosa, linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. and All-Pro safety Derwin James on the roster.
Let us not forget, despite failing to make the playoffs last season, the Chargers did win their final 4 games and that must bode well going into the following season. If you want to back the Chargers, wagering on your mobile is the perfect way to bet on the NFL.
One of the main areas of improvement for the LA Chargers if they are to make the playoffs is in the fourth quarter of games. 8 of their 9 losses last season were by a deficit of 10 points or less and many of these defeats came courtesy of blown 4th quarter leads. This is something Staley will be looking to stamp out and it will be interesting to see how the Chargers perform under his guidance when going into the 4th quarter of games with a lead. If Staley can solve this problem, the Chargers will improve their chances of making the playoffs significantly.
Kicking also proved to be a problem for the Chargers last season. Michael Badgley, who looked full of promise in the early days of his career, had a 2020 season to forget as he missed a combined 12 kicks between field goals and extra points. The power in the leg to be consistent does not appear to be there and competition as kicker should be a priority for the Chargers if they are to make the playoffs. The NFL Draft could provide the perfect opportunity for the Chargers to strengthen in that department, even it would be an unconventional move.
The LA Chargers have nine picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, with a compensatory pick in the third round and a sixth-round pick. The latter of which could be the perfect opportunity to add a kicker and strengthen in that department.