Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
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The 2021 NFL schedule is officially here. With free agency mostly over with and the 2021 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, we can begin to preview the 2021 season. The AFC West should be one of the best divisions in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs will be motivated after falling short in the Super Bowl last year, the Los Angeles Chargers are excited to move forward with their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Las Vegas Raiders feel they made some improvements to become more competitive and the Denver Broncos appeared to have had one of the best drafts of any NFL team

The Chiefs have won the division five years in a row, but could that change in 2021? Additionally, how many teams will the AFC West send to the playoffs? Below, we will break down the Chargers' 2021 schedule. We will list all 17 games, examine key matchups and give an initial season prediction:

2021 Chargers schedule

WeekOpponentDateTime (ET)Network

1

at Washington

Sept. 12

1 p.m.

CBS

2

vs. Cowboys

Sept. 19

4:25 p.m.

CBS

3

at Chiefs

Sept. 26

1 p.m.

CBS

4

vs. Raiders

Oct. 4 

8:15 p.m.

ESPN

5

vs. Browns

Oct. 10

4:05 p.m.

CBS

6

at Ravens

Oct. 17

1 p.m.

CBS

7

BYE

Oct. 24

8

vs. Patriots

Oct. 31

4:05 p.m.

CBS

9

at Eagles

Nov. 7

4:05 p.m.

CBS

10

vs. Vikings

Nov. 14

4:05 p.m.

FOX

11

vs. Steelers

Nov. 21

8:20 p.m.

NBC

12

at Broncos

Nov. 28

4:05 p.m.

CBS

13

at Bengals

Dec. 5

1 p.m.

FOX

14

vs. Giants

Dec. 12

4:05 p.m.

FOX

15

vs. Chiefs

Dec. 16

8:20 p.m.

FOX/NFL Network/Amazon

16

at Texans

Dec. 26

1 p.m.

CBS

17

vs. Broncos

Jan. 2

4:05 p.m.

CBS

18at RaidersJan. 94:25 p.m.CBS

Chargers key games

  • Week 3 at. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chargers split the season series with the Chiefs last year, but their win came against backups in Week 17. Still, Herbert almost scored a victory against the Chiefs in his very first start back in Week 2. He was incredibly poised for his first game, as he completed 22 of 33 passes for 311 yards, one touchdown, one interception and also rushed for a score in the 23-20 overtime loss. The second edition of Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes should be fun.
  • Week 8 vs. New England Patriots: Herbert's worst game as a pro came in Week 13 against the Patriots, as the Chargers lost 45-0. I imagine this would be a revenge spot for this team after what was such an embarrassing loss last year. 
  • Week 5 vs. Cleveland Browns: The Browns could be one of the best teams in the NFL in 2021. Kevin Stefanski went 11-5 in his first season as head coach and even won a playoff game. They made impressive additions in free agency and also had a great draft, so this should be a big matchup for the Chargers. 

Chargers toughest matchup

Week: 6 | Date: Oct. 17 | Time: 1 p.m.
Opponent: Baltimore Ravens

The Chargers had the No. 18 rush defense in the league last year while the Ravens had the No. 1 rush offense. Baltimore's offense could be even better in 2021, as Lamar Jackson now has Sammy Watkins and  Rashod Bateman to throw to. The Ravens also play an aggressive style of defense, so it will be interesting to see how Herbert handles this pressure on the road.

Chargers projected win total

2021 record prediction: 8-9

The Chargers appear to be on the right track, but Brandon Staley will have to prove himself as a head coach and this team as a whole will have to prove it can stay healthy. Expect Herbert to continue to prove he's the future at quarterback with the additions Los Angeles made on the offensive line, but the AFC West is a very tough division. I'm expecting the Chargers to go around .500 -- whether that be 9-8 or 8-9.