Every time the schedule is released we all look through it, pick out our favorite games, then immediately circle them on the calendar and look forward to them until they roll around.
Every season has key games and milestones, I’ve looked through the Bolts schedule and here are what I think are the big ones for our Los Angeles Chargers.
(Obviously as the season progresses this could all change).
Chiefs @ Chargers, Week 1, 9/9/18
The opening game of any season is one of the most important. It’s a chance to set the tone and put down a marker for the coming year, especially when it’s against a divisional rival.
In the past 4 years, Kansas City have had the Chargers number. They hold an 8-0 record over the Bolts. I don’t care how many media experts are backing L.A. for the postseason or how fast the hype train is rolling; if the Chargers can’t overcome the Chiefs, they will be facing an uphill battle to win the AFC West and therefore the road to the Superbowl becomes a more difficult one.
The Chargers have consistency on their side and on paper they seem to have improved via the draft and free agency, whereas the rest of the division are going through some degree of transition. This will be an eagerly awaited match up. Can they break Andy Reid’s spell? Can they spook new starting QB Patrick Mahomes? We will shall see on opening day…
Chargers vs. Titans (@Wembley Stadium), Week 7, 10/21/18
The Chargers head across the pond to London, where they’ll face off against the Titans in week 7. I feel that this is pivotal, since the game in the middle of the season and the organization has to contend with the logistical problems of the transatlantic journey, which is always a challenge. How will the players treat the trip? How will they react? Will there be too many distractions? All questions that need negotiating.
There’s also the added wrinkle that after hosting the Raiders game in week 5, the team doesn’t play in Los Angeles again until week 11, when the Broncos come to the StubHub.
It will be important to avoid homesickness for Anthony Lynn’s squad, given that they’re effectively on the road for such a long time. The trip the Seattle is also big after the bye week as it’s never an easy place to go and get the W, despite the fact they’re going through a rebuild.
This period could be the acid test for this team in mid season and this game against a fellow AFC playoff hopeful kicks it all off. Given the circumstances in which the Chargers missed the postseason last year, I’m sure they’ll be looking to win as many games against conference teams to have the edge in the tiebreakers and avoid a repeat of last season.
Chargers @ Steelers, Week 13, 12/2/2018
By week 13, we’ll all have a much clearer idea of who is going to be playing football in January and who is going to be sat at home watching on T.V.. These two teams are definitely harboring playoff ambitions and this could be a dress rehearsal for a postseason clash, with two of the top teams in the AFC meeting in L.A. in week 13.
These two teams contain some of the best players in the game too, so it could to be an awesome game to watch with a lot of talent on show. I’m sure every player will be going all out, especially since this game could help to decide playoff seedings.
The league really comes alive in December and is usually a huge month for a lot of teams. Luckily for the Bolts, one player who particularly comes alive is Philip Rivers. The 15-year veteran has provided some magical moments late in the season. This blockbuster match up in Pittsburgh could be one of the games of the year, if these two ball clubs slug it out at Heinz Field.
Get it in your diary, NOW!
Chargers @ Broncos, Week 17, 12/30/18
I’m a huge fan of the way the NFL has now reserved week 17 games for divisional matchups. This is because it means often times that there’s at least something riding on the game, plus divisional games are just a lot of fun to watch and I think the players love playing them, too.
The Bolts don’t have the greatest of records at Mile High, having not won there since 2013! Much like their recent record against Kansas City, Los Angeles really need to put this right if they have designs on being the top dog in the AFC West.
Obviously with the Chiefs visiting the Raiders on the same day, it could be an all important day for everyone in the division. Hopefully the Bolts will be able to take care of business in Colorado or will go to Denver having already secured their playoff spot… Ha! Who am I kidding, this is still the Chargers, when is it ever simple? But that’s exactly why I have this down as a key game for 2018.
– Lee Wakefield is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @Wakefield90