After narrowly missing out on the playoffs in 2017, the Los Angeles Chargers will hope the 2018 season brings an end to their four-year postseason drought.
The Chargers dropped their first four games to start 2017 and looked to be poised for their third straight losing season. But Los Angeles closed out the year by winning six of its final seven games to register nine victories and mount a late playoff push.
It wasn't enough, as the Chargers finished eighth in the AFC. Los Angeles still laid solid groundwork for Anthony Lynn's second year as the head coach.
Here is a look at the complete schedule for the Chargers in the 2018 regular season, per NFL.com.
Chargers 2018 Schedule
Week 1: vs. Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 2: at Buffalo Bills on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 3: at Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 23 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 4: vs. San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 30 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 5: vs. Oakland Raiders on Oct. 7 at 4:05 p.m. on CBS
Week 6: at Cleveland Browns on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 7: vs. Tennessee Titans on Oct. 21 at 9:30 a.m. ET on CBS
Week 8: Bye
Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 4 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 10: at Oakland Raiders on Nov. 11 at 4:05 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 11: vs. Denver Broncos on Nov. 18 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 25 at 4:05 p.m. ET on Fox
Week 13: at Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 14: vs. Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 15: at Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 13 at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox/NFL Network
Week 16: vs. Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 23 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS
Week 17: at Denver Broncos on Dec. 30 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
The Chargers headed into 2017 with what was the third-toughest schedule in the NFL based on 2016 winning percentage. Things have evened out for Los Angeles in that regard, as the team's 2018 strength of schedule is 24th based on last year.
The Cleveland Browns skew that number slightly, though, after going winless in 2017. The Browns should be much better in 2018 after adding Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, Damarious Randall and E.J. Gaines in the offseason.
Playing Cleveland on the road could be a tricky encounter.
The Chargers were also a bit unfortunate to draw the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Rams away from home. The Rams and Steelers won 11 and 13 games, respectively, in 2017, and there's little reason to think they'll be any worse in 2018.
Los Angeles loses a home game this year as well since it plays the Tennessee Titans in London, which doesn't make the team's quest for a playoff berth any easier. More important than having just seven home games, managing a trip across the pond presents a challenge for the Chargers.
Although strength of schedule alone seemingly indicates the Chargers have a somewhat easy road to the postseason, the truth is much different.
The Chargers' six division games will obviously be important. You have to go back to 2013 to find the last playoff team that finished below .500 in its own division, so picking up only one or two wins in the AFC West would be a significant blow to Los Angeles' postseason hopes.
Los Angeles hasn't won an AFC West title since 2009. The Kansas City Chiefs should be considered the favorites to win the division, even after trading Alex Smith and making Patrick Mahomes their starting quarterback.
As a result, the wild card is likely to be the Chargers' path into the playoffs. That lends a little more weight to Los Angeles' games within the conference but outside of the AFC West.
The Browns, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens all project to be in the same boat as the Chargers, and all are on Los Angeles' schedule. A tiebreaker meant the Chargers missed the postseason in 2017, and that could be the case once again in 2018.
Should that prove true, their head-to-head records against Cleveland, Buffalo, Tennessee and Baltimore may prove decisive—positively or negatively.