The Chargers 2021 off-season placed a clear emphasis on revamping the offensive line, which they has successfully did by replacing 4 of their 5 starters from 2020. The lone returner, Bryan Bulaga, has been consistently solid when healthy. They also brought in Corey Linsley from the Packers, who was PFF's highest graded center last season. 13th overall pick Rashawn Slater will get the nod at left tackle, while Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi take on the guard positions. Feiler and Aboushi are both veterans who have never been anything other than average-at-best, and we truly never know how rookies will handle immediately starting in the NFL. Even though the line is improved, I still expect them to have issues, and that's horrible news when playing the Football Team's absurd defensive line (more on that later). Justin Herbert will hope to build on an impressive rookie campaign where he broke the rookie touchdown record. Herbert was the ultimate high-variance/high-leverage QB in year one, equally capable of MVP-caliber starts and bench-worthy performances. He somehow had a better passer rating when under pressure then when kept clean, which is a bit of a concern from a regression standpoint as stats when kept clean tend to be more stable. Keenan Allen will lead the way at receiver, with deep threat Mike Williams and 2021 3rd round selection Josh Palmer. TE Hunter Henry departed for New England, but the Chargers brought in Jared Cook -- we can view that as essentially an even swap. Austin Ekeler was projected to take the lead role in the backfield, but he's a true questionable with a hamstring injury after missing Wednesday and Thursday's practice. Profootballdoc expects he'll either miss or his production will be limited. The defense has holes all over the filed -- though Joey Bosa is one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, the line has virtually nobody after Melvin Ingram departed for Pittsburgh. The secondary gets back swiss-army knife Derwin James, but the corners project to be poor, led by past-his-prime Chris Harris and rookie Assante Samuel Jr.
The Football Team is in need of a name and a quarterback. With Alex Smith retired and Dwayne Haskins doing whatever the fuck Dwayne Haskins does, they turned to Ryan Fitzpatrick, the hero they don't deserve, but certainly need. The 38 year old gunslinger enters his 17th season with as many teams (ok, the teams part is a slight exaggeration). He boosted a solid 75.1 PFF grade last season before being benched by the Dolphins for reasons that I can only describe as "fuck it, rookies are fun." The receiving core is typically Terry McLaurin and nobody else, but they did bring in slot man Adam Humphries and Curtis Samuel. Samuel will miss, however, with a groin injury. They brought in Charles Leno to play tackle, who's been a solid contributor in his 5 year carer. However, they let Morgan Moses walk, paving the way for rookie 2nd-rounder Samuel Cosmi to play right tackle. Chase Roullier and Brandon Scherff should be a solid center/right guard combo, but the same can't be said for LG Ereck Flowers. The defensive line is neck and neck with the Steelers for the best in the league -- lead by Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat. The linebacking core is flat out dreadful, but the secondary was solid last year, and the addition of William Jackson can only help.
At the end of the day, we ranked the Football Team as 19th in the league and the Chargers at 24th. I expect the Football Team's line to feast on the new Chargers offensive line. Adding in that the game is in DC, this is a no brainer from the model. Load up on the Team With No Name.