The San Diego Chargers‘ 2014 schedule has been released and it won’t be an easy road back to the playoffs. The Chargers have the fourth-toughest schedule in the NFL next season. Their opponents went a combined 144-112 (.563) last year. Five of the teams they will face made the playoffs, including the Super Bowl Champs. Here’s a look at their 2014 schedule that was just released today.
Week 1: @ Arizona Cardinals, Monday Sep. 8th 10:20 PM (ET) (Monday Night Football)
Week 2: vs Seattle Seahawks,Sunday Sep. 14th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 3: @ Buffalo Bills, Monday Sep. 21st at 1:00 PM (ET)
Week 4: vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday Sep. 28th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 5: @ New York Jets, Sunday Oct. 5th at 4:25 PM (ET)
Week 6: @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday Oct. 12th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 7: vs Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Oct. 19th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 8: @ Denver Broncos, Thursday Oct. 23rd at 8:25 PM (ET) (Thursday Night Football)
Week 9: @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday Nov. 2nd at 1:00 PM (ET)
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: vs Oakland Raiders, Sunday Nov. 16th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 12: vs St. Louis Rams, Sunday Nov. 23rd at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 13: @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Nov. 30th at 1:00 PM (ET)
Week 14: vs New England Patriots, Sunday Dec. 7th at 8:30 PM (ET) (Sunday Night Football)
Week 15: vs Denver Broncos, Sunday Dec. 14th at 4:05 PM (ET)
Week 16: @ San Francisco 49ers, Saturday Dec. 20th at 4:30 PM (ET)
Week 17: @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Dec. 28th at 1:00 PM (ET)
The Chargers have a tough start to the season against the Cardinals and Seahawks, who combined to go 23-9 last year, but the end of the schedule is brutal. San Diego has games against three Super Bowl hopefuls (vs Patriots, vs Broncos and at 49ers). Those three teams combined to finish the season 37-11 and all made it to their conference championship game.
The two biggest and most crucial stretches of the Chargers schedule will be when they face division rivals back-to-back-to-back from week six to eight. The other tough stretch will be at the end of the season when the Chargers face New England, Denver, San Francisco and Kansas City to end the regular season, but there is some room for Chargers fans to be optimistic. San Diego plays three of the four conference championship teams from a year ago at home. San Diego also proved to play very well in hostel environments last year with wins in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Denver, as well as Cincinnati in the playoffs.
The Chargers exceeded expectations last season, but I see them taking a small step back this year. My early prediction for the Chargers next season is an 8-8 regular season finish.