5 Reasons Why the San Diego Chargers Won’t Win the AFC West in 2014

5 Reasons the San Diego Chargers Will Fail to Win the AFC West in 2014

San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers went 9-7 in 2013, finished third in the AFC West and somehow sneaked into the playoffs. The Bolts had to win their last four games, including the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs in OT. Entering Week 14 it seemed highly unlikely the Chargers would make the playoffs. Here are five reasons why the Chargers won’t win the AFC West in 2014.

5. Their Defense

San Diego Chargers
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5. Their Defense

San Diego Chargers
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Bolts will face some good passing attacks in 2014, so their pass rush and defensive backfield need to step up and create turnovers to get off the field on third down. In 2013 the Bolts’ defense was ranked 23rd in YPG (366.5) and 29th in passing YPG (258.7). Their rushing defense was better and they ranked 11th with 21.8 PPG, but their defense needs to make sure they get pressure on opposing QBs, create turnovers and avoid giving up big plays.

4. They Have a New Offensive Coordinator

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. They Have a New Offensive Coordinator

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In January the Bolts announced QB coach Frank Reich would take over as offensive coordinator, replacing Ken Whisenhunt who took over as coach for the Tennessee Titans. While it helps that San Diego promoted from within, Reich has only been with the Chargers since 2013 and there will be some growing pains as they adjust to a new OC. The Chargers need a top 10 offense in 2014, and it’s possible even that won’t be good enough to win the AFC West.

3. Their Schedule

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Their Schedule

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

They open on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, who should be very formidable in 2014. In Week 2 they play the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. They play Denver twice of course. They also have the Kansas City Chiefs twice and, while they were overrated last season, they still went 11-5. They have the Baltimore Ravens (should be improved this season) and San Francisco 49ers on the road and the New England Patriots at home.

2. Red Zone Efficiency

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. Red Zone Efficiency

San Diego Chargers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Red zone efficiency is vital in the NFL. Once teams get in the red zone they don’t want to settle for a FG and they definitely do not want to turn the ball over. The Chargers ranked only 12th in PPG (24.8) in 2013, despite ranking first in TOP (33:35) and third down conversions (49 percent), third in first-downs per game (23.4) and fifth in YPG (393.3). If the Bolts don’t put up more points they have no shot at winning the AFC West.

1. The Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Denver Broncos

San Diego Chargers
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe any team other than the Broncos will win the AFC West in 2014. Peyton Manning and Co. went 13-3 in 2013 on their way to the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and a trip to the Super Bowl. The Broncos haven’t had a ton of turnover this offseason. Yes WR Eric Decker signed with the Jets, but Manning still has enough weapons to throw to. There’s no way the Chargers overtake the Broncos in the division.


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