2017 Los Angeles Chargers game-by-game predictions

They finished with a league-worst 21 players on the injured reserve last season, but if the Los Angeles Chargers can stay relatively healthy in 2017 (a tough task, I know) they can compete for a postseason berth. The Chargers have not reached the playoffs since the 2013 season, but in head coach Anthony Lynn, head of football operations John Spanos and general manager Tom Telesco believe they have the right person in place to lead them back to the postseason.

Week 1: Monday, Sept. 11, at Denver Broncos, 10:20 p.m. ET

Ex-Chargers coach Mike McCoy, now the offensive coordinator for the Broncos, faces his former team on the season’s opening weekend. The Chargers have not won in Denver since 2013, but played the Broncos tough at Sports Authority Field last season. Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 17, vs. Miami Dolphins, 4:05 p.m. ET

The Chargers play the first NFL game at the StubHub Center against an improved Dolphins team, who escaped with a close victory at Qualcomm Stadium last season when Philip Rivers threw a late interception Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso returned for a score. The Chargers do a better job of taking care of the football here. Record: 2-0

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 24, vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. ET

In 1960, the Chargers played the first game in franchise history against the Dallas Texans, who moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs. That franchise never played the Chargers in Los Angeles as the Chiefs but gets the chance now that the Chargers have returned. Record: 2-1

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, Philadelphia Eagles, 4:05 p.m. ET

The Chargers get their first look at second-year Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz. Running back Ryan Mathews, meanwhile, plays against his former team for the first time since moving on to the Eagles in free agency two years ago. Record: 3-1

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, at New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET

Eli Manning faces the Chargers, the team he didn’t want to play for when he came out in the 2004 draft — and against whom he has a nose-pinching 0-3 record. Running back Andre Williams also faces his former team in the Giants, who released him during final roster cuts last season. Record: 3-2

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15, at Oakland Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Chargers travel to the Black Hole to face the Raiders for the first time since the NFL announced the team is relocating to Las Vegas. Ex-Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano faces his former team for the first time. Record: 3-3.

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, vs. Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET

New Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung faces his former team in the Broncos. Okung played a full 16 games for the first time in his seven-year career last season with Denver. Record: 4-3

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 29, at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. ET

The Chargers travel to New England for the first time since 2011. The Patriots hold a 23-15-2 edge in the series. Record: 4-4

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. ET

Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley faces his former team for the first time since he was fired after four seasons as Jacksonville head coach. The Chargers have owned the Jaguars, beating them six consecutive times. Make it seven. Record: 5-4

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19, vs. Buffalo Bills, 4:05 p.m. ET

Lynn should know his former team and personnel well when the Bills travel west to face the Chargers. I give Lynn the edge here. Record: 6-4

Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 23, at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. ET

The Chargers travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys for the first time since 2009. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, former Ohio State teammates and college roommates, face off in the NFL for the first time. Record: 6-5

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, vs. Cleveland Browns, 4:05 p.m. ET

Yes, the Chargers suffered a humiliating loss to the Browns last season, but that can’t happen again if Brock Osweiler remains at quarterback. Record: 7-5

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, vs. Washington Redskins, 4:05 p.m. ET

The Chargers have not lost to Washington at home since 1986. Record: 8-5

Week 15: Saturday, Dec. 16, at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:25 p.m. ET

The Chiefs have the Chargers’ number, defeating them six straight times since the beginning of the 2014 season. Record: 8-6

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, at New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET

The Chargers travel East to play at MetLife Stadium for the second time in 2017. Center Matt Slauson faces his former team for the first time since joining the Chargers before last season. Safety Dwight Lowery was also drafted by the Jets (a fourth-round selection in 2008) and spent his first three NFL seasons there. Record: 8-7

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, vs. Oakland Raiders, 4:25 p.m. ET

Raiders fans took over Qualcomm Stadium a year ago. Now the Chargers are in Los Angeles, it will be interesting to see how many Raiders fan show up, particularly with the Silver and Black relocating to Las Vegas in a couple years. Record: 9-7

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