One Advantage the San Diego Chargers Have over Each Division Foe in 2012

Alex Ramirez@@alexramirez127Correspondent IAugust 1, 2012

One Advantage the San Diego Chargers Have over Each Division Foe in 2012

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    It's been two years since the Chargers last won the AFC West. Their combined record vs. divisional opponents in those seasons was 6-6. That's a big drop off from the two seasons before.

    After having a combined record of 10-2 in 2008 and 2009 versus AFC West opponents, San Diego's dominance is no more.

    All three teams have improved vastly in recent years, but the Chargers still have the ability to go 6-0 in the AFC West.

    Although San Diego has one of the most talented teams in the entire NFL, they are still the underdogs in their own division. Most are predicting Denver to win it while some are picking Kansas City.

    People shouldn't fall asleep on the Chargers. We'll find out who wins each divisional game when the time comes, but here is one advantage San Diego has over the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Advantage: Chargers Revamped Defense vs. Chiefs Pass Game

    Last Season's Record: 1-1

    Anyone still think about the last time the Chargers played the Chiefs? That was just terrible.

    After botching a snap that ended up costing them the game, Philip Rivers is hoping he won't be saying this after the next time they play the Chiefs. Each team has two wins against each other in the last two seasons. Both teams won their games at home.

    Season Match-Ups: Sept. 30 @ Kansas City, Nov. 1 vs. Kansas City.

    The Chiefs were 31st in points and 25th in passing yards per game last season.

    Good news for Chiefs: Matt Cassel is back and healthy.

    Bad news for Chiefs: Although Cassel only played in nine games last season, his quarterback rating was 76.6. He had 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Dwyane Bowe has also not reported to training camp, and trade rumors are surrounding him.

    The only thing the Chargers did with their secondary was add Atari Bigby and draft Brandon Taylor for the strong safety position, but the biggest problem last year was their inability to get to the quarterback and cause havoc. Melvin Ingram is one of the players that will help fix that problem this season.

    San Diego may not have one of the best defenses in the league, but they are definitely better than last season. The biggest threat to the Chargers against the Chiefs is Jamaal Charles, if healthy.

Denver Broncos

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    Advantage: Recent history vs. Peyton Manning.

    Last Season's Record: 1-1

    When Peyton Manning joined the Broncos, it was no surprise that Philip Rivers had no problem with it. If there's any team that Peyton Manning probably hates to play, it's the Chargers.

    In 2007, when the two sides met, San Diego forced Peyton Manning into six interceptions. In 2010, he threw another four against them.

    Manning doesn't have trouble against the Chargers' secondary, he has trouble against their pass rush. In an article written by James Dudko here on Bleacher Report, he stated that no team, the New England Patriots included, has gotten to Manning more consistently.

    The Chargers have excelled at moving him off his spot, attacking his footwork and preventing him from stepping up.

    Season Match-Ups: Oct. 15 vs. Denver, Nov. 18 @ Denver.

    Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but it seems like the Chargers are his biggest struggle. After winning his first three games against San Diego, he has lost his last five.

    While everyone is already making the Broncos the favorite to win the AFC West, Peyton Manning knows he must first overcome the San Diego Chargers.

Oakland Raiders

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    Advantage: Scheduled Match-ups.

    Last Season's Record: 1-1

    In the past two seasons, the Chargers are 1-3 against the Raiders. Times have changed in just a few years. Before going 1-3 in the past two years, the Chargers won 13 straight against the silver and black.

    Carson Palmer's career quarterback rating vs. the Chargers is 128.4. He doesn't have many weapons to throw to, but when Darren McFadden is healthy, the Raider offense is pretty good.

    McFadden hasn't shown he can stay healthy throughout an entire season and they don't have Michael Bush to back him up anymore, so that's a positive for San Diego.

    Season Match-Ups: Sept. 10 @ Oakland, Dec. 30 vs. Oakland.

    The Chargers begin and end the season playing their biggest rival, so their intensity should be very high. The advantage they have with the scheduled match-ups is the fact that they play their best football on Monday Night Football.

    Seeing how the division usually comes down to the last week of the season, their game against Oakland could determine if they make the playoffs.

    Philip Rivers has a record of 24-3 in December and the second highest passer rating for the month in history. He is also very good against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. The 2009 season was the last time the two teams faced off on Monday Night with the Chargers earning their 12th victory in a row.

    Alex Ramirez is a Featured Columnist for the San Diego Chargers on Bleacher Report. @alexramirez127