Can the Los Angeles Chargers streal the AFC West away from the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021-2022 season?
If you remember last season, the LA Chargers handed the Kansas City Chiefs a 38-21 loss on January 3rd.
This was one of just two losses for the recent Champs and back-to-back Super Bowl participants. The other came at the hands of Jon Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders, the black sheep of the AFC West.
The other game the Chargers played against the Chiefs went right down to the wire as well. In Week 2, the Chargers and their stud of a rookie QB took KC into overtime and lost 23-20.
One thing is for sure, even if the Chargers don’t win the division this year, this is a team that is coming up in a big way.
Odds on the AFC West
The market from top bookmakers at Illinois opened with the betting lines showing the Kansas City Chiefs at -455; the LA Chargers at +525; the LV Raiders at +1400; and the Denver Broncos at +1500.
These lines showed that sportsbooks around the globe thought the Chargers were poised to be the second-best team in the AFC West and significantly more likely to win the division than the Raiders or Broncos.
But even though no announcements have been made, bookmakers believe that Aaron Rodgers will find his way to Mile High in 2021. So much so that the Denver Broncos have jumped the Chargers on the boards at most betting outlets and currently hold that No. 2 spot. The Broncos now have odds as short as +400 to win the west.
But how much will it matter? Even if Aaron Rodgers does move to Denver, the offensive line isn’t great—rated by Pro Fantasy Football at No. 25 in the league—and Rodgers still doesn’t have the most outstanding targets. Sure, the potential is there, and some experts are touting the Denver receiving corps as high as No. 6 in the NFL … but let’s be honest, Cortland Sutton missed most of the season, and we are not sure what the Broncos will be getting back at this point. Then there are two highly touted young receivers in K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy but what we have seen from them is just handfuls of dropped passes—or figurative handfuls, because they can’t keep the ball in their hands.
As far as the O-lines are concerned, the Chargers look much better than Denver. Bryan Bulga is back and healthy and is continually graded at 75.0 or better. On top of Bulga being back to top form, the Chargers grabbed another former Green Bay big-man in Corey Linsley. This snapper was, in many eyes, the top free-agent center on the market.
The Chargers also have some solid back-ups on the line, namely Brenden James. The young guard needs to work on his run-blocking but is a solid pass protector, which is just what Justin Herbert needs when Oday Aboushi takes a breather or goes down with a stinger.
Although the Chargers are far from boasting the best offensive line in the league, they may have the most improved line in the entire NFL.
If the Chargers win the games they need and split wins with the KC Chiefs again; they could take the AFC West. After all, the LA Chargers are tied for the 3rd most manageable schedule in the league when the SOS is based on current season win projections—using the win/loss over/under totals for each team on the schedule instead of last season’s record.
Will they actually win the AFC West? Probably not; the Chiefs are loaded. But hey, you never know. That said, I believe the Chargers are poised for a wild card berth in 2021-2022, and this team will continue to surprise with upset wins over teams that are better on paper.
What are the odds that the Chargers will get nine wins and make a solid run on the division but fall short to a 12-wins Chiefs squad? We will find out.
Have mainstream sports finally bounced back after 2020?
Whilst many would have been eager to get back to a sports stadium and support their favorite team in person and in the stands, it would seem that it could take some time before the same kind of pre-pandemic numbers are reached.
It is clear that there are many supporters who have decided enough is enough and have worn their team’s colors to the stadium to encourage the team as they try and support them to a win, although recent reports suggest numbers are slow across the entire sporting world at the moment.
Of course, many will have used the campaigns that they were unable to attend venues in different ways, with some likely to have looked and used sportsbooks that offered them the best odds in sports betting available, whilst others would have been happy enough to shout at a TV screen when watching the action.
Premier League soccer attendances are yet to fully recover
According to some data that has been released, it would seem the attendance numbers that England’s Premier League used to experience are yet to return to the levels that had once been enjoyed in 2019/20.
Although the competition is just under halfway through the 21/22 campaign, earlier figures had suggested that attendances were down on those that were experienced in 19/20. However, it does need to be noted that the percentage is very small.
Teams such as Leeds United and Brentford have been able to see the figures be as high as possible as it is the first opportunity fans will have had to watch their team in the top-flight, although others will point to the fact that ticket prices have continued to increase and are perhaps unaffordable currently, especially after a hard 18 months or so.
The NFL shows interesting attendance data
Much like the Premier League, the National Football League (NFL) is one of the biggest sporting competitions around the world and one in which many will look to as a case study for whether mainstream sports have been able to fully bounce back after an impactful 2020.
Again, like the soccer competition, football seems to have had its ups and downs recently in regards to attendance, although there could be some outliers as to why the data currently being shown is what it currently is.
The league’s overall attendance has been relatively strong this season as fans have been able to return to stadiums all over America, with big crowds at venues such as the Las Vegas Radiers’ Allegiant Stadium (93.9% capacity) and the shared SoFi Stadium as the Los Angeles Rams (99.6%) and Los Angeles Chargers (98.2%) having been witnessed. However, it is also the first season in which fans of all three franchises will have been able to go to the new home of each team.
Unfortunately, there are NFL teams that are showing issues in regards to attendances, although this might be based on the fact that there are perhaps some sporting disclaimers that may have led to the fact that fans have opted to stay away. For instance, the Washington Football Team has yet to have announced an attendance of 80% capacity or over.
Teams in New York (New York Giants and New York Jets) and Detroit (Detroit Lions) are franchises that have been called out in the past for low attendances, though, which will have brought the overall number down but this does not mean that mainstream sports have not bounced back. Nonetheless, there are seven teams below 90% capacity overall compared to three in 2019 before the pandemic.
By simply looking at the attendances that can be seen at various sporting venues around the world, it would be safe to assume that mainstream sports have bounced back from the disaster of 2020, although perhaps not as quickly as many may have expected them to.
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