The Chargers have enough firepower to beat the Bills without Joey Bosa, but his absence makes them vulnerable to every team in the NFL.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Joey Bosa makes the life of each of his teammates easier when he’s on the field. His ability to disrupt an opposing offense’s passing game makes him one of the most dynamic defenders in the NFL. Obviously, the Los Angeles Chargers really need him to get healthy.
What isn’t quite as obvious is just how vulnerable the Chargers are without him. When he’s at his best, Anthony Lynn’s defense has the talent to be one of the top 10 units in the league. Without him, the group can easy slip into the bottom 10. That illustrates the fact that Bosa is one of the most important players in the league.
While the Chargers head to Buffalo this week as strong favorites, it’s not impossible they could foul things up without Bosa to rush Josh Allen. As bad as the Bills offense looked in Week 1, the insertion of Allen into the lineup does make the team’s attack look more interesting. If nothing else, Allen’s ability to hurl the ball down the field might trouble the back line of the Chargers secondary.
For the record, we’re not predicting a shocker from Buffalo here. The Chargers should be able to handle the league’s worst team without Bosa on the field. The point is if Los Angeles can’t effectively rush the passer, it’s going to be vulnerable against every team on their schedule.
Without Bosa, an immense amount of pressure falls on Melvin Ingram to be a one-man wrecking crew. He finished the 2017 campaign with 10.5 sacks of his own, but he did a lot of his damage against single coverage. Ingram will face a ton of double teams without the threat of Bosa on the other edge.
The real question for the organization is just how much time Bosa is going to miss. He’s already been ruled out for this weekend, but Lynn recently told reporters that he’d likely miss “the next couple weeks.” After the Bills, the Chargers will take on the Rams and 49ers back to back. Each opponent features an explosive passing game with the potential to carve Los Angeles up if their quarterbacks are given sufficient time to throw.
The key for the Chargers is to survive Bosa’s injury absence. This team isn’t good enough to go on a long win streak without their top defender. In truth, if they can manage to beat Buffalo and find a way to defeat either San Francisco or the Rams without Bosa in the lineup, it would set them up nicely to make a run when he turns.
The nightmare scenario, of course, is that Bosa is more injured than the team is letting on. No one with the Chargers has been all that forthcoming about his current diagnosis. It doesn’t do the team any good to broadcast news about his injury, but the secrecy does raise the possibility that Bosa is more hurt than anyone is letting on.
Chargers fans need to hope that’s not the case. This defense is only going to be good if it can rush the passer effectively. That’s only going to happen if Bosa is playing at a Pro Bowl level for the majority of the season.