Last Season: 8-8, first in AFC West, lost divisional round to Pittsburgh
GOOD THING GOING: Talent galore on both sides of the ball. Phillip Rivers (photo) has proven that he was worth trading for in the 2004 draft, with some impressive victories in his young playoff career (3-2 in the playoffs).
Last season, Rivers threw for 4,009 yards and had 34 touchdown passes.
LaDanian Tomlinson is back again. Antonio Gates is also around. There's even Vincent Jackson, who had his first career 1,000-yard season.
On defense, Shawne Merriman returns from injury. The defense looked inept without him and his presence alone makes everyone around him better. His return should revitalize the pass rush.
PRESENTABLE PROBLEMS: Head coach Norv Turner has been accused of being too finesse with the Chargers instead of taking risks and pounding opponents in the trenches.
Many believe that he doesn't make good use of Tomlinson and hasn't found ways to keep his team motivated. His coaching philosophy has been heavily criticized by the San Diego fans, media, and even former Chargers.
CRUCIAL GAME(S): After the season opener with AFC West foe Oakland, the next three games are against playoff teams from a year ago. Baltimore and Miami come to town and then its the playoff rematch against Pittsburgh.
After the bye week, the Chargers then contend with the Giants, Eagles and Titans.
WHAT TO BELIEVE IN 2009: San Diego has to win now. LaDanian Tomlinson is aging, Norv Turner is on the hot seat, and teams like the Ravens, Dolphins and Titans are emerging into conference heavyweights.
Best case scenario for the Chargers is to play all of your playoff games in San Diego instead of going to cold weather places like New England and Pittsburgh.
THE PICK FOR '09: 10-6