NFL Preview- San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers return after just getting themselves into the playoffs a year ago. While they have lost their Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to become head coach of the Titans, they return a litany of wide receivers that were lost to injury last season.
Phillip Rivers returns looking for another successful offensive season. He may have lost his offensive coordinator, but the system remains intact as it was also created by his head coach Mike McCoy. He returns Keenan Allen, who stepped up as a rookie when other receivers went down. Vincent Brown and Malcolm Floyd are both back healthy to make this offense that much more dangerous. Antonio Gates returns for another together with Rivers at tight end. The franchise also feels Ladarius Green is ready to step up and become Gates’s replacement.
At running back, Ryan Matthews returns from his most successful season in the NFL. Danny Woodhead also comes back to provide a change of pace. Whether in New England or San Diego, Woodhead has become a valuable piece of the offensive attack with his work ethic.
On defense, the continuing maturation and development of Manti Te’o gives San Diego hope. They also hope that Dwight Freeney can return to his form of pursuing the quarterback. Eric Weddle returns at safety and one of the leaders of this defense. Brandon Flowers was brought in from Kansas City to become that much-needed shutdown cornerback the Chargers’ defense needed.
Let’s look at what 2014 will look like for the Chargers:
Week 1- The Chargers begin in Arizona against a tough Cardinals team. The home team finds a way to get the close win with the better overall defense. They begin 0-1.
Week 2- They host the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Another killer defense makes for a long day for Rivers and the offense. They start slow at 0-2.
Week 3- They head east to Buffalo and get themselves into the win column. Chargers now 1-2.
Week 4- San Diego hosts Jacksonville and get themselves a big win. The Bolts improve to 2-2.
Week 5- They host the Jets next and Rivers takes advantage of what seems like a questionable secondary right now. San Diego is now 3-2.
Week 6- The Chargers head to Oakland and find a way to give the game away as they have a tendency to do with their division foes. They fall back to .500 at 3-3.
Week 7- They next host a tough Kansas City pass rush. Rivers has a hard time finding time to find his receivers as he is under constant pressure. Chargers drop to 3-4.
Week 8- They head to Denver in a short week and play a great game. San Diego pulls off the huge upset and get themselves back to 4-4.
Week 9- San Diego heads to Miami and get back to a winning record. They now stand at 5-4.
Week 10- A nice week off for the Bolts.
Week 11- The Chargers host the Raiders after their bye and keep their winning streak alive at three games. San Diego gets to 6-4.
Week 12- Another fierce pass rush from the St. Louis defense gives Rivers another tough day. Chargers drop to 6-5.
Week 13- The Bolts go to Baltimore and find themselves in another tough game. They come close to winning but fall in the end. Back to .500 ball at 6-6.
Week 14- Their second-to-last home game is not an easy one as they face the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and Rivers have themselves an offensive shootout, and Rivers pulls it off at home. San Diego gets to 7-6.
Week 15- In the rematch with the Broncos, Peyton Manning gets a little payback. Chargers drop to 7-7.
Week 16- Fighting for a playoff spot, the Chargers visit Levi’s Stadium and play inspired foorball. Bolts are now 8-7.
Week 17- With a shot at the final playoff spot, San Diego heads to Kansas City and pulls off the upset. They finish up at 9-7.
The Chargers certainly have the talent to win as many as eleven games, but seem to give away games early in the year they should be winning. With the schedule they have, it is also possible to believe they could as many as ten games. But San Diego also has a tendency to play great and beat teams they are supposed to lose to.