The Los Angeles Chargers' 2019 schedule is nothing short of electric.
From the season opener vs. the Indianapolis Colts, playing in at least four primetime games, ending with a monumental matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs and much more, the Bolts boast one of the most entertaining slates of games in the entire league.
"I'm fired up for this season," Philip Rivers said. "I was disappointed the way the season ended last year, but fired up to get going again because we have the nucleus we have. Your ultimate goal is always the same. Some years it's more realistic than others. That's just the truth. But I think we're in this sweet spot where we have a real chance to do some great things. The way last year ended will cause us to be hungry going into this season. And seeing the dates to the games, it makes it all more real. It's an exciting schedule. I'm fired up."
As with every season, there are several things that stand out right off the bat.
First off, the Chargers will have at least four primetime games for the first time since 2014. Depending on what happens with Week 16's flex date vs. the Raiders, the number could jump to five, which would tie the team record for most in a season (2008). Two of those primetime games come at home at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park when the Bolts host the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 6) and Minnesota Vikings (15) on Sunday Night Football.
Another weird anomaly is that the Bolts will go a 24-day stretch with only two games. With a Thursday night game followed by a Monday night game and then the bye, the Chargers will get plenty of rest from mid-to-late November.
Meanwhile, much like last year, the Chargers have a lengthy stint away from home midway through the season. After hosting the Green Bay Packers in Week 9, the Bolts won't play at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park until Week 15. They'll play three games on the road, one "home" game in Mexico City and be on the bye over that span.
Overall, here are the top things you need to know about each game on the Chargers' 2019 schedule. As a reminder, all times listed are local for pacific time:
Week 1 vs. Indianapolis Colts, Sept. 8, 1:05 PM (CBS)The AFC's two wild cards from last season face off to start the season as the Bolts host Andrew Luck and the Colts at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park. Both teams made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs a year ago. This will also mark a reunion of sorts for Indianapolis Head Coach Frank Reich as he coached the Chargers from 2013-15, including the last two seasons as the team's offensive coordinator.
Week 2 at Detroit Lions, Sept. 15, 10:00 AM (CBS)The Bolts hit the road for the first time in 2019, playing in the Motor City for only the second time since 2003 and the first since 2011. It will be quite the chess match between Lions Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell and Chargers Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley as they each served in the same capacity from 2011-12 while with the Seattle Seahawks. On offense, the Chargers must account for defensive end Trey Flowers, who was Detroit's big free agency acquisition from the New England Patriots.
Week 3 vs. Houston Texans, Sept. 22, 1:25 PM (CBS)Two of the league's most explosive offenses face off when the 2018 AFC South champions visit the Bolts for the first time since 2013. Each team features two of the top QB-WR combos in the league in Philip Rivers - Keenan Allen and Deshaun Watson - DeAndre Hopkins. Equally noteworthy is that this marks the first time Derek Watt gets to go mano-a-mano against his All-Pro brother J.J.
Week 4 at Miami Dolphins, Sept. 29, 10:00 AM (CBS) It's been a few years since the Chargers made their way to South Beach, and they'll face a drastically different Dolphins teams when they meet in Week 4. Miami made a switch at quarterback this offseason, signing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to guide the team's offense under first-year head coach Brian Flores. The game will be a homecoming for Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Dolphins.
Week 5 vs. Denver Broncos, Oct. 6, 1:05 PM (CBS) The Bolts finally play a division opponent as they return home to host the Broncos. Denver is another team boasting a new head coach and quarterback as they hired Vic Fangio and traded for Joe Flacco. As always, the two rivals possess some of the top pass rushers in the league as the Chargers feature Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram while the Broncos boast Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Week 6. vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Oct. 13, 5:20 PM (NBC) It's déjà vu all over again as the Chargers and Steelers met in an epic Sunday night clash in 2018. That game took place at Heinz Field as the Bolts capped off a furious comeback with a Michael Badgley game-winning field goal at the buzzer. This marks the first home Sunday Night Football game for the Chargers since 2014.
Week 7 at Tennessee Titans, Oct. 20, 1:05 PM (CBS) It was a wild finish when these teams squared off in London last season as Adrian Phillips secured the victory by breaking up Tennessee's game-winning two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds. The Titans now look for revenge as they host the Chargers in Nashville for the first time since 2013. The Bolts have had a great deal of success against the Titans over the years, winning 11 of their last 12 meetings dating back to 1993.
Week 8 at Chicago Bears, Oct. 27, 10:00 AM (FOX) Los Angeles makes a rare visit to Chicago as the last time they played in the Windy City came back in 2011. The Bears have had marked success against the Chargers at home as the Bolts' lone win at Soldier Field was way back in 1970 in the first ever meeting between the two teams. In order to secure the win, the Chargers will need to be wary of Khalil Mack, the Bears' ferocious edge rusher who they know well from his stint with the Raiders.
Week 9 vs. Green Bay Packers, Nov. 3, 1:25 PM (CBS) Two of the best quarterbacks of the past decade lead their teams in a highly-anticipated clash at ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park. Green Bay has gotten the best of the Bolts over the years as L.A.'s lone victory vs. the Pack was back in 1984. Meanwhile, the Packers will be guided by Matt LaFleur, who was named the franchise's 15th head coach this offseason. 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.
Week 10 at Oakland Raiders, Nov. 7, 5:20 PM (FOX/NFLN/AMAZON) The Chargers have a short week to prepare for their second division game of the year as they visit the Raiders for Thursday Night Football. The defense will have their hands full trying to contain Antonio Brown as Oakland acquired the elite wideout from the Steelers earlier this offseason. This also marks the first time former Charger Tyrell Williams faces his old team.
Week 11 vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Mexico City), Nov. 18, 5:15 PM (ESPN) Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes look to sling the ball in the thin Mexico City air as the Chargers host the Chiefs at Estadio Azteca. The highly-anticipated primetime matchup features the top teams in the AFC a year ago as the team's tied for the conference's best record at 12-4.
Week 12 BYE This marks the Chargers' latest bye since 1990.
Week 13 at Denver Broncos, Dec. 1, 1:25 PM (CBS) Los Angeles returns to action fresh off the bye against a divisional opponent. Overall, the Chargers play an AFC West rival five times in their last seven games, including three over the last five weeks.
Week 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars, Dec. 8, 1:05 PM (FOX) The Bolts head to Florida for the second time in 2018 when they visit the Jaguars. L.A. 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.
Week 15 vs. Minnesota Vikings, Dec. 15, 5:20 PM (NBC) The Chargers return home for the first time in six weeks when they host the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Remarkably, the teams have alternated wins and losses since they first met in 1971, and the Bolts hope that trend continues as the Vikings prevailed 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.
Week 16 vs. Oakland Raiders, Dec. 21 or 22, (Time and Network TBD) The Chargers are playing in a flex Week 16 game for the second year in a row, taking the field on either Saturday or Sunday. The NFL will make the decision after Week 8.
Week 17 at Kansas City Chiefs, Dec. 29, 10:00 AM (CBS) Co uld this game decide the AFC West? The Chiefs have won the division three years in a row, and last year won a tie-breaker with the Bolts despite boasting identical records. L.A. will look to recapture last year's magic at Arrowhead Stadium when they authored a dramatic 29-28 come-from-behind win in the final seconds.