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3 Los Angeles Chargers

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PHILIP RIVERS threw a league-high 21 interceptions last season, but an unusually large number of those were due to wide receiver mistakes. That won't be the case this year with the addition of Clemson first-rounder MIKE WILLIAMS (if healthy) and the return of KEENAN ALLEN from a torn right ACL. Speedy TRAVIS BENJAMIN is back as a movable No. 3 receiver and big-play weapon; fourth-year pro DONTRELLE INMAN is one of the league's best route runners and could blossom into a quality starter; and 6'4", 205-pound TYRELL WILLIAMS, while needing refinement, has the size and speed to be a No. 1.

• It's clear MELVIN GORDON is most comfortable running out of a two-back formation: He settled down in his second season after the Chargers drafted his former Wisconsin fullback, DEREK WATT. But over the course of 2016, Gordon also got tougher running out of one-back formations. That's crucial, especially in San Diego's offense.

• If the Chargers aren't playing three receivers, they'll use two tight ends—and look good doing it. They have a developing star in second-year pro HUNTER HENRY and the savviest of veterans in ANTONIO GATES, who is still one of the best at getting open over the middle.

• Presumably, new coach ANTHONY LYNN wouldn't have hired GUS BRADLEY as his defensive coordinator unless he wanted to run a Seahawks-style Cover 3 zone. But you have to wonder about the wisdom of adopting such a relatively basic scheme, given Los Angeles's talent. The Chargers have what every defense covets: a pair of top-flight man-to-man corners in JASON VERRETT and CASEY HAYWARD, who should enable you to expand—not contract—your blitz packages.

• JOEY BOSA, with only a dozen games under his belt, is already the third-best edge rusher in the NFL, behind Von Miller and Khalil Mack. (J.J. Watt is more a pure defensive lineman than an edge guy.) Bosa's lateral quickness is incredible. So is his hand strength. And body control. And ability to transition from speed to power. It'll be interesting to see where he lines up. Conventional wisdom says he'll play defensive end. But those in the know suggest that Bosa might see snaps inside as a passing down 3-technique.

"BOSA, WITH ONLY A DOZEN GAMES UNDER HIS BELT, IS ALREADY THE THIRD-BEST EDGE RUSHER IN THE NFL."

SI'S 2017 PREDICTION

7-9

2016 RECORD

5--11

SEPT. 11

MONDAY

AT DEN

SEPT. 17

VS. MIA

SEPT. 24

VS. KC

OCT. 1

VS. PHI

OCT. 8

AT NYG

OCT. 15

AT OAK

OCT. 22

VS. DEN

OCT. 29

AT NE

BYE

NOV. 12

AT JAC

NOV. 19

VS. BUF

NOV. 23

THURSDAY

AT DAL

DEC. 3

VS. CLE

DEC. 10

VS. WAS

DEC. 16

SATURDAY

AT KC

DEC. 24

AT NYJ

DEC. 31

VS. OAK

Position Rankings

QB

7

Strength

SKILL

12

OL

24

FRONT 7

10

DBs

10

ANDY BENOIT'S 400 MMQB ON.SI.COM/400

20 JOEY BOSA OLB

67 JASON VERRETT CB

88 PHILIP RIVERS QB

95 MELVIN INGRAM OLB

133 CASEY HAYWARD CB

190 COREY LIUGET DE

199 ANTONIO GATES TE

203 MELVIN GORDON RB

315 HUNTER HENRY TE

317 KEENAN ALLEN WR

379 RUSSELL OKUNG T