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Why the Chargers are Among The Athletic's Early AFC Playoff Contenders

Buzz 05.23.24

There is a long way to go before the Chargers regular season kicks off in September — but it's never too early for some projections on how the year could play out.

The Athletic's Austin Mock put together an exercise using his NFL Projection Model that simulated the entire NFL schedule following its release to see how each team could fare in 2024.

His model predicts each team's quality and then simulates each game until a Super Bowl champion is crowned. And to get a clear and more stable answer, he repeats the process 100,000 times.

Mock mapped out how likely a team is to make the playoffs and win the whole thing — and the Bolts were one of the standouts.

The Chargers held the sixth-best odds in the AFC to make the playoffs at 57.7 percent, just ahead of the Texans and Dolphins, as their schedule plays out favorable in his model.

Mock wrote:

The Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers are a bit of a surprise with how high they sit as potential playoff teams, but each has a top-five easiest schedule, according to my model. Both teams should also see a significant upgrade at the quarterback position compared with last year… and the Chargers are welcoming back Justin Herbert after an injury-riddled season and now have Jim Harbaugh taking over as coach.

The Chargers were also tied with the Browns for the seventh-best AFC projection to win the Super Bowl at 3.1 percent.

Mock's point about strength of schedule is also reflected outside of the projections when basing off team records in 2023.

The Bolts are tied for the 27th toughest schedule this year, as their 2024 opponents combined to go 138-151 for a .478 winning percentage.

To read Mock's full projections, click here.

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