The San Diego Chargers are coming off of their second-straight disappointing campaign and if they don't figure things out in 2012 a lot of people will likely be looking for work next offseason.
With that in mind general manager A.J. Smith went to work this offseason and began to reshape his roster. He added tough veterans like Jarret Johnson, Le'Ron McClain and Atari Bigby, while also signing guys like Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Roscoe Parrish. The Chargers also made it a priority to bring back some of their solid veterans like offensive tackle Jared Gaither, center Nick Hardwick, nose tackle Antonio Garay and defensive end Luis Castillo.
While the team could still use some depth along the offensive line, the Chargers are well positioned to make a run at an AFC West title in 2012.
Week 2 9/16: San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans 4:15 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 3 9/23: San Diego Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons 4:05 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 4 9/30: San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs 1 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 5 10/7: San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
Week 6 10/15: San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos 8:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
Week 7: BYE
Week 8 10/28: San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns 1 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 9 11/1: San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs 8:20 p.m. EST, NFL Network
Week 10 11/11: San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 11 11/18: San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos 4:15 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 12 11/25: San Diego Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens 4:05 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 13 12/2: San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals 4:15 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 14 12/9: San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1 p.m. EST, CBS
Week 15 12/16 San Diego Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers 4:05 p.m. EST, FOX
Week 16 12/23: San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
Week 17 12/30: San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders 4:15 p.m. EST, CBS
The Chargers schedule plays out fairly favorably. Out-of-conference matchups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers will certainly be winnable. In addition, non-divisional games with the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals will be much easier to take since they will come at home.
Overall San Diego's schedule lines up well for a team that needs to make a deep playoff run in 2012.
Which Game on the Schedule Poses Biggest Challenge?
Most Pivotal Matchup: Week 6 vs. Denver Broncos
The Chargers will welcome four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning to his new division. For the most part, the Broncos and Chargers have owned the AFC West over the past decade so Manning's first foray into this rivalry will be a game to watch.
San Diego has had success against the 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, and the Chargers will be looking to continue that success.