5 Predictions For 2024 Los Angeles Chargers Season, Including Jim Harbaugh Win Total

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers have been one of the most talked about NFL teams this offseason, with fans excited about the future with head coach Jim Harbaugh. However, the first season under Harbaugh might not be everything fans are hoping for this fall.

While Harbaugh did go 13-3 in his first season as an NFL head coach with the San Francisco 49ers, that roster was in much better shape than the current Chargers roster. A better comparison is the multi-year build Harbaugh led at the University of Michigan, which he capped off with a national championship.

Also Read: NFL Defense Rankings 2024

Now, let’s dive into some of our Chargers predictions for the 2024 season.

Ladd McConkey Eclipses 100 Receptions

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

Los Angeles might not have taken a wide receiver in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, but Ladd McConkey was a first-round talent. While the back injury might be a long-term concern, our focus is on the present. For a team starved for quality pass-catchers, McConkey has an opportunity to thrive in 2024.

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Puka Nacua broke the NFL rookie record for receptions (105), doing it on 160 targets in 17 games. There were more mouths to feed in the Los Angeles Rams offense, though, that also meant more players for opponents to account for in coverage. McConkey’s skills as a route runner and his understanding of how to get open quickly are perfect for this offense and a quarterback with a tendency to throw behind the chains. While 100-plus receptions is a lofty mark, McConkey is in a role and situation where it can be done.

  • Prediction: Ladd McConkey gets 101 receptions in 17 games

Justin Herbert Records A Career-Best In Sack Rate

Los Angeles Chargers predictions 2024
Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Because Justin Herbert missed four games in 2023, we have to go with sack rate instead of sacks taken. The Chargers’ quarterback was only sacked 29 times last season but it came with a career-high 6 percent sack rate. Before that, Herbert’s sac rate was 5.2 percent (2022), 4.4 percent (2021) and 5.1 percent (2020).

Related: Los Angeles Chargers land surprisingly high in NFL offensive line rankings

A healthy season from Rashawn Slater at left tackle would already make the Chargers offensive line better in 2024. Even when factoring in a transition period from moving to right tackle, Joe Alt is a significant upgrade over Trey Pipkins. Plus, the new Chargers’ system is well-designed to protect the quarterback with an emphasis on running the football. The 2024 season will be the best for Herbert’s body and with fewer hits, the Chargers’ quarterback will play the best football of his young career.

  • Prediction: Justin Herbert finishes with a 4.2% sack rate

Los Angeles Chargers Finish With A Top-5 Rushing Offense

Los Angeles Chargers predictions
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was the predictable hire for Harbaugh. While the decision didn’t receive the strongest reaction from the fan base, Roman should at least be recognized for his accomplishments. As a play-caller, he has consistently orchestrated some of the best rushing attacks in football and we see no reason that won’t continue in Los Angeles.

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For context, the top five NFL team rushing leaders all averaged at least 135. rushing yards per game and at least 4.5 yards per carry. In contrast, the Chargers offense averaged 3.8 yards per carry and 96.6 rushing yards per game in 2023. Roman’s NFL offenses were consistently some of the best in football, especially early in his tenure with teams. Behind an improved offensive line and with defenses focused on stopping Herbert, Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and Kimani Vidal will lead a top-5 rushing offense this fall.

  • Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers average 140.3 rushing yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry

Khalil Mack Is Traded Midseason

Los Angeles Chargers predictions 2024
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Khalil Mack is still an excellent player and without him on the field in 2023, one of the league’s worst defenses would have been even more of an eyesore. Los Angeles decided to bring him back for the upcoming season, but we’re not convinced he’ll stick around all the way through.

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With the NFL trade deadline 2024 set for November 5, the Chargers front office will have more time to determine how it should approach things. Our projection is that Los Angeles will be multiple games under .500, prompting the call to field trade offers on a few veterans. Mack will likely be the best pass rusher available with a trade netting general manager Joe Hortiz a Day 2 pick.

  • Prediction: Khalil Mack traded to the Baltimore Ravens in November

Jim Harbaugh Wins 6 games In First Season Back

Los Angeles Chargers predictions
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the years to come, Harbaugh and Herbert will be leading the Chargers to Super Bowl contention. An MVP-caliber quarterback with an elite coach, a strong culture, and a great supporting cast is the recipe for long-term success. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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Right now, there are just too many holes on the Chargers roster to forecast this team finishing the season with a winning record. Harbaugh and Hortiz will use the 17 regular-season games to determine which players are building blocks for this franchise and which don’t fit the long-term vision. While our prediction does mean Los Angeles will have a top-10 pick in the 2025 NFL Draft, this coming season will also have a lot of moments that provide hope for the future.

  • Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers finish 6-11

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