In this ESPN Insider piece, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsider provides early projected win totals for all the teams in the AFC.
And Schatz has the San Diego Chargers finishing 9-7 overall. That seems about right. I predicted the Chargers will go 10-6 for the upcoming season.
While not splashy, I believe San Diego did a nice job of shoring up deficiencies this offseason through free agency and the draft, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. But the main reason I like the Chargers to improve is the cohesion that remains by bringing back everyone on offense, and the addition of players like Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram that will returning healthy from injury-plagued seasons last year.
As far as the rest of the AFC West, Schatz predicts the Denver Broncos will finish 12-4, followed by San Diego (9-7), Kansas City (7-9) and Oakland at (4-12).
Here’s what Schatz had to say about the Chargers: “The projection here may be a bit too sanguine about the Chargers maintaining last year's offensive renaissance, especially with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt now gone to run the Titans. On the other hand, the Chargers defense that ranked dead last in DVOA last year is almost certain to improve.”