Breaking Down the Chargers’ 2019 Opponents

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The final schedule for all 32 teams will be released in April, but it’s never too early to break down the opponents the Chargers will face in 2019.

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Indianapolis Colts
More: A familiar face leads the Colts onto ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park as former Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich enters his second season as Indy’s head coach. Reich guided the Colts into the postseason in 2018 behind the NFL’s top-ranked offensive line. In fact, Andrew Luck was the least sacked QB in the NFL, but he’ll have to deal with Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and the rest of the Bolts when they face off next year.

Green Bay Packers
More: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers make a rare trip out west when they visit the Bolts for the first time since 2011. Green Bay has gotten the best of the Bolts over the years as L.A.’s lone victory came back in 1984. They head into 2019 under new leadership as Matt LaFleur was named the franchise’s 15th head coach, taking over for Mike McCarthy who served in that role from 2006-18. The game also marks the first time Pro Bowler Casey Hayward will go up against the team that originally selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers
More: The Chargers face the Steelers for the second straight season, only this time, it’s Pittsburgh who’ll fly out west. Most recently, the Chargers won a 33-30 barnburner as Philip Rivers marched the Bolts back from a 16-point deficit while Michael Badgley kicked the game-winning field goal on Sunday Night Football. This marks the latest meeting between Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger who were members of the vaunted QB class of 2004.

Houston Texans
More: A matchup of two teams who made the 2018 postseason, this marks the first time the Chargers will host Houston since the 2013 season opener. Notably, the matchup marks the first time Derek Watt gets to face his All-Pro brother J.J. Meanwhile, the defense will have their hands full as they get their first look at dynamic QB Deshaun Watson while also trying to keep up with All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins.

Minnesota Vikings
More: The Chargers and Vikings have faced off 12 times since their first meeting in 1971. Incredibly, the teams have alternated wins and losses, which is a good sign for the Bolts since they fell the last time they met in 2015. Meanwhile, this marks a rare chance that childhood friends Melvin Gordon and Vikings’ star corner Trae Waynes get to grace the same field.

The Chargers are set to face 40 Pro Bowlers in 2019, pending offseason transactions.

ROAD

Chicago Bears
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The Bolts visit Chicago for the first time since 2011. They’ll need to bring the road warrior mentality that served them well in 2018 as the Windy City hasn’t been too kind to the Chargers. In fact, they’ve only won once at Soldier Field. That victory took place all the way back in 1970 in what was the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Miami Dolphins
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The Chargers won arguably the most exciting game in franchise history when they downed the Dolphins 41-38 in the playoffs. That overtime thriller is known as the “Epic in Miami” but unfortunately marked the last time the Chargers beat the Dolphins in Florida. In fact, the Bolts have lost their last eight contests in South Beach dating back to that 1982. The game will be a homecoming for Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Dolphins.

Jacksonville Jaguars
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Los Angeles had won six straight against the Jags prior to their last meeting in 2017 when Jacksonville emerged with a 20-17 overtime victory. This presents the team’s first chance at revenge as they head to Duval County for the fifth time in nine years.

Take a detailed look at who the Bolts will face during the 2019 regular season.

Detroit Lions
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Another city the Bolts rarely visit, this marks their first trip to Ford Field since 2011, and only their second since 2003. As of now, it looks like the ground game will get a ton of work in the Motor City as both teams feature terrific tandems at running back. However, Detroit’s offense may look very different as they recently hired the highly respected Darrell Bevell as their new offensive coordinator.

Tennessee Titans
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The Chargers headed across the pond to take on the Titans in 2018, winning a 20-19 thriller after denying Tennessee a two-point conversion in the waning seconds. They don’t have to go as far this time as they head to Nashville for the first time since 2013. Overall, the Chargers have had a great deal of success against the Titans, winning 11 of their last 12 meetings dating back to 1993.

AFC West

Denver Broncos
More: The Bolts and Broncos split the 2018 season series by winning on the other’s home turf. Denver will have a decidedly different look next year though as they made a coaching change, hiring Vic Fangio to lead them moving forward. However, one constant will be the presence of a heavy pass rush on both sides as the Chargers feature Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram while the Broncos boast Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

Oakland Raiders
More: The Chargers swept the season series for the second consecutive year in 2018 by a combined score of 46-16. However, the Raiders should look quite different next season as they hold three first-round selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, including the fourth, 24th and 27th overall picks. There will be a new man in charge of making those selections as Oakland hired former NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as their new GM to work hand in hand with Head Coach Jon Gruden.

Kansas City Chiefs
More: Los Angeles snapped a nine-game skid against the Chiefs in dramatic fashion with a thrilling 29-28 last second comeback in Kansas City late in the year. Both teams feature high-powered aerial assaults, so expect fireworks in each game with Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes leading the way.

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