Fans are in for another exciting season of Chargers football as the team's 2018 schedule was announced on Thursday.
Beginning at home against the reigning AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs and ending on the road at the Denver Broncos, the entire schedule is chock full of intriguing matchups, unique quirks and dramatic showdowns.
"We've been wanting to get back on the field since the day after the Oakland game," said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. "Missing out on that playoff tiebreaker left a sour taste in everyone's mouth, so schedule release day is pretty nice in that it helps us lock in on the job at hand for 2018. You know for months who you're playing and where, but the when brings everything that much more into focus. Looking at the schedule, there's no doubt we have our work cut out for us. But I'm excited about this team and know we'll be up for the challenge."
"Shoot, now this is a heck of an NFL schedule," added Philip Rivers. "It's funny because every team has known their opponents now for months, but when you see them with a date, it changes things for you. This makes it feel a little more real, and we know we're getting closer. I'm excited. Like any year, the first thing you look for is who you open with. Seeing that we open at home against the Chiefs, who have dominated our division the last couple years, it's exciting to start the year against them at StubHub Center."
As noted, the schedule does contain a few quirks.
The team will be away from StubHub Center for over a month from Oct. 7 until Nov. 18. Following Week 5's game against the Oakland Raiders, they head to Cleveland to battle the Browns before traveling to London to host the Tennessee Titans. L.A. then comes home for a bye before back-to-back road games in Seattle and Oakland.
Meanwhile, although the Bolts know they'll host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, a new wrinkle to NFL schedule allows flex scheduling for that weekend. That matchup is one of four games designated by the NFL to potentially be played on Saturday. After Week 8, the NFL will determine which two of the four games will be played on Saturday and which two games will be played on Sunday.
Overall, here are the top things you need to know about each game on the Bolts' 2018 slate. All times listed are local for California:
Week 1 vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sept. 9, 1:05pm (CBS)
The Bolts kick off their quest to capture the AFC West crown by hosting the reigning division champs. This is the fourth time the team has hosted Kansas City to open a season, and the first since 1992. The Chargers own a 32-26 record in season openers, including a 16-8 mark at home.
Week 2 at Buffalo Bills, Sept. 16, 10:00am (CBS)
L.A. hits the road for the first time with a cross-country trip to Buffalo. The Bolts hold an all-time regular-season record of 23-10-2 against the Bills, which is the franchise's best regular-season winning percentage against any team. Fans will remember the teams faced off a year ago with Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley's unit forcing six turnovers, including five interceptions in the first half, in a 52-24 victory.
Week 3 at Los Angeles Rams, Sept. 23, 1:05pm (CBS)
The Chargers won't have to travel far as they head crosstown to take on the Rams at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. This meeting marks a clash of two of the league's most explosive offenses as the Chargers ranked fourth and the Rams 10th in 2017.
Week 4 vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sept. 30, 1:25pm (CBS)
Jimmy Garoppolo leads the 49ers down the coast to face L.A. for the Bolts' second home game of the year. The last time the teams squared off in the regular season marked the Chargers' greatest comeback as they tied a franchise record by storming back from a 21-point second half deficit to pull out a thrilling 38-35 OT victory.
Week 5 vs. Oakland Raiders, Oct. 7, 1:05pm (CBS)
The other Bay area team heads to Los Angeles a week later when the Bolts host their bitter rivals, led by new head coach Jon Gruden. The Chargers have won 12 of the past 15 home contests against the Raiders, scoring 20-plus points in all but four of those matchups. The Bolts' 2,509 all-time regular-season points against the Raiders also rank as the most against any team.
Week 6 at Cleveland Browns, Oct. 14, 10:00am (CBS)
L.A. hits the road for an extended period of time, beginning with a tilt against the Browns for the fourth-straight year. The Bolts boast a 16-9-1 regular-season record against the Browns, including 8-5-1 in games at Cleveland.
Week 7 vs. Tennessee Titans (London), Oct. 21, 6:30am (CBS)
While this is considered a home game for the Bolts, it will take place across the pond in London at Wembley Stadium. The Chargers have won nine of the past 10 games overall, including six straight at home. Los Angeles' 1,068 points scored against Tennessee are the most among non-current division opponents.
Week 9 at Seattle Seahawks, Nov. 4, 1:05pm (CBS)
Following a Week 8 bye, the Chargers head north to play their former AFC West foe. L.A. has posted five-straight games with 20-plus points against Seattle, and no team has won a game in the series by double digits since 1998. The Week 9 tilt also serves as a homecoming for Brandon Mebane and Russell Okung, who helped Seattle capture a Super Bowl title.
Week 10 at Oakland Raiders, Nov. 11, 1:05pm (FOX)
The Chargers wrap up the season series against the Raiders on the road, where they have won 10 of the past 14 games. The past four meetings between the teams in Oakland have been decided by three points or fewer, including last year's 17-16 victory on a last second field goal.
Week 11 vs. Denver Broncos, Nov. 18, 1:05pm (CBS)
Six weeks after hosting the Raiders, the Bolts finally return to StubHub Center. While they wrapped up the season series with Denver by mid-October in 2017, this year they won't face the AFC West rival until mid-November. Newly signed quarterback Case Keenum will lead a Broncos offense that was shut out by the Bolts a year ago. L.A. has won two in a row at home over Denver.
Week 12 vs. Arizona Cardinals, Nov. 25, 1:05pm (FOX)
The Chargers host Arizona for the first time since 2010, which was a 41-10 victory for the Bolts. Los Angeles holds a 9-4 all-time advantage against the Cardinals, including a 6-1 record as the home team. The Chargers have also won three of the last four against the Cardinals, scoring 20-plus points in all of those victories.
Week 13 at Pittsburgh Steelers, Dec. 2, 10:00am (CBS)
This highly anticipated game features two of the league's true elite wide receivers in Keenan Allena and Antonio Brown. It is also the Chargers' first trip to the Steel City since 2012, when Philip Rivers and Danario Alexander helped power a 34-24 upset over the Steelers. The Bolts have tallied 20-plus points in three of their past four games in Pittsburgh while no team in the series has won by more than 10 points since 2003.
Week 14 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 9, 1:05pm (CBS)
Andy Dalton leads the Bengals to Southern California for the first time since 2013. Cincinnati has won the last four regular season contests between the two teams dating back to 2010. However, the Chargers did beat them when it mattered most over the eight-year span, defeating the Bengals 27-10 on the road in the Wild Card round of the 2013 playoffs. L.A. last defeated Cincy at home back in 2009 as the victory clinched the AFC West crown for the Bolts.
Week 15 at Kansas City Chiefs (THU), Dec. 13, 5:20pm (FOX/NFLN)
The Chargers take on the Chiefs in a primetime affair that may very well decide the AFC West champion. Los Angeles' 54 regular-season wins against Kansas City are its most against any team.
Week 16 vs. Baltimore Ravens (TBD)
It won't be decided until after Week 8 whether the game will be held on Saturday, December 22 or Sunday, December 23. No matter when Baltimore heads west, it marks their first trip to the Chargers since 2012. The last three contests have been separated by a combined seven points.
Week 17 at Denver Broncos, Dec. 30, 1:25pm (CBS)
The Bolts began the 2017 season in Denver, and they'll end the 2018 campaign in the Mile High City. Seven of the last eight games played in Denver have been decided by eight points or less.
In addition, the NFL also released the dates and times for the Chargers' preseason slate.
WEEK 1 at Arizona Cardinals – Saturday, Aug. 11, 7:00pm (KABC-TV)
WEEK 2 vs. Seattle Seahawks – Saturday, Aug. 18, 7:00pm (KABC-TV)
WEEK 3 vs. New Orleans Saints: Saturday, Aug. 25, 5:00pm (CBS)
WEEK 4 at San Francisco 49ers: Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:00pm (KABC-TV)
*Available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis for the first time in more than a year, new 2018 Season Ticket Memberships for the team's nine-game home slate at StubHub Center. Additionally, starting today, the Chargers have also made a limited number of single-game tickets available for purchase in select locations. To purchase a Season Ticket Membership or select single-game tickets, fans can visit www.fightforla.com/stubhub *