San Diego Chargers 2010 NFL Preview: Can Mathews Live Up To Hype?

Todd JacobsCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers scores a touchdown against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers have a history of starting slow and finishing with a flurry in recent NFL history. This season, San Diego will have an easier schedule to start the season and will face NFC West teams. With a few players that could be labeled malcontents gone from San Diego , this could be a season in which they can put it together in the post season.

San Diego's toughest games will come in the middle of their schedule. They will have to play Tennessee, Indianapolis, Houston and New England in a six week stretch. In that stretch they do have their bye week (week 10), so that could help them.


Las Vegas sets San Diego's Over/Under at 11 wins

The Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has set San Diego's Over/Under total wins at 11 and they can have that many wins by week 14 of the NFL season (see all NFL teams Over/Under totals ).

As is the case with any team, San Diego will have to stay healthy and avoid any major holdout problems which look to be possible as training camp begins.  Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman are both discussing holding out for the first ten games.


A good quarterback is essential to make a deep run in the NFL playoffs

Phillip Rivers has had pressure on him since arriving in San Diego. As a replacement for Drew Brees, Rivers has done well as the leader of San Diego but has never been able to finish the job and bring home the Lombardi Trophy to San Diego.

The key to San Diego moving forward and making it to the Super Bowl in 2011 will be Rivers taking over this team as a leader and getting his offense on the same page. With LaDanian Tomlinson gone and rookie Ryan Mathews replacing him, this team can go to another level. Tomlinson had become a distraction on the bench and now Rivers can flourish with his teammates all behind him.

A disciplined running game will help San Diego's passing game

The 2010 NFL season will see a San Diego team that is not afraid to run the ball and control the clock when they need to. Look for a Darren Sproles and rookie Ryan Mathews to log more carries out of the backfield than most San Diego fans have become accustomed to.

Mathews loves to run the ball aggressively and Sproles just loves to get out in the open and run. The question for San Diego will be if Mathews can stand the extra beating he will take in the NFL compared to college. Mathews loves to get his carries but the NFL schedule is much more grueling than his college schedule.


San Diego's defense will see some changes in the 2010 NFL season

San Diego will still have a strong defensive line once the curtain opens on the 2010 NFL season. The questions lie at the corners and the middle of the defense? Eric Weddle will return and he will have help from Brandon Siler and Stephen Cooper in the middle of the defense.

The big question mark for San Diego's defense will be Shawne Merriman. Is Merriman headed elsewhere?  Merriman wants more money and San Diego was not impressed with his performance on and off the field in 2009.


Coaching can de rail this team in a hurry

Norv Turner has always been a great assistant coach but that is the extent of Turner's knowledge. Turner just doesn't have that little extra something that will push his team to the next level.

Marty Shottenheimer was fired because he couldn't win in the NFL playoffs and soon Norv Turner will suffer the same fate if this team goes 13-3 and loses in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.


Final evaluation of the San Diego Chargers for the 2010-2011 NFL season

San Diego will get off to their best start in years, possibly winning the first six games of the NFL season. Then the road will get rough they will lose one or two games before their bye week and one or two games after their bye week and then finish strong.


San Diego will finish the 2010 NFL season with a record of 12-4 and then lose their second round NFL playoff game again after they receive a bye in the first round.

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