New FPI Ranks Los Angeles Chargers 18th; Can Harbaugh Defy Expectations and Lead a Playoff Charge?

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers, looking to bounce back from a frustrating 2023 season, face a tough road according to ESPN’s Football Power Index for the upcoming year. Ranked 18th overall and 11th in the AFC, the FPI paints a picture of a team with potential but significant hurdles to overcome.

Los Angeles Chargers FPI Forecast

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-OTA
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Here’s a closer look at the FPIs forecast:

  • Ranking: 18th in the NFL
  • FPI Rating: -2.2 (negative rating indicates a team projected to lose more than they win)
  • Win-Loss Projection: 7.8 wins – 8.2 losses
  • Super Bowl Odds: 1.1%
  • Playoff Odds: 45%

The FPI’s outlook reflects concerns surrounding the Chargers. The loss of key receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams deals a significant blow to their offensive firepower. Additionally, their defense, which ranked 29th in EPA last season, remains a question mark.

However, there are reasons for optimism. The arrival of head coach Jim Harbaugh brings a proven winner to the sidelines. The talent of quarterback Justin Herbert can’t be overlooked and a strong showing from him could elevate the entire offense.

Not only that but according to many outlets, including ESPN, the Charger’s schedule of opponents is one of the easiest in the league.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers OTA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Key factors for success in 2024:

  • Integration of New Offensive Weapons: Harbaugh has a specific vision for his offense, one built from the offensive line and centered around the running game. That said, the team drafted three receivers, signed veteran DJ Chark, and added three more undrafted wide receivers.
  • Defensive Improvement: With heavy investment on offense, did they do enough on defense to remain competitive?
  • Justin Herbert’s Development: Greg Roman’s offenses have historically favored the rushing attack, leaving many to question Herbert’s place in the offense. However, the continued growth of Herbert will be the main factor in propelling the team to greater heights.

The Chargers face a challenging road ahead according to the FPI. However, with a strong coaching staff, a talented quarterback, and continued improvement, they have the potential to defy expectations and contend for a playoff spot in the competitive AFC West.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers OTA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports