NFL Season Preview: San Diego Chargers

Joe WillettSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2008

The San Diego Chargers are not that long removed from having the first overall pick in the draft and being a team that Eli Manning refused to play on.

Now, they are an NFL superpower, running over teams that think they can hang with the Bolts.  They built around LaDainian Tomlinson perfectly and now have a great team.

They also upset the Indianapolis Colts last season by winning their playoff game without Philip Rivers or Antonio Gates and scoring on a fourth quarter game winning drive.

So what are the Bolts going to do this season?


Key Addition/Subtraction

Antoine Cason - Through the draft

Michael Turner - To the Falcons


Key Games

Oct. 12, vs. Patriots - The Patriots and Chargers are two of the superpowers in the NFL and this should be a close, hard fought game.

Nov. 16, at Steelers - Again, two strong teams.  It will be interesting to see how the smothering Steeler defense can withstand Tomlinson and Gates.

Nov. 23, vs. Colts - The Colts-Bolts games were great last season.  This season shouldn't disappoint either.

Dec. 04, vs. Raiders - The Raiders have a lot of swag coming into the season.  If they start to deliver, the Chargers could use this game to show them that they are still the team to beat in the AFC West.


Season Outlook

It's time to go out on a big limb; I am going to predict that the Chargers are going to be a strong contender this season.

Now that I have shocked the world with that crazy statement, time for me to back it up by pointing out the strong spots of this team.

They have arguably the best running back in the NFL, LaDainian Tomlinson, who is a former league MVP and led the NFL in yards rushing last season.

They have a quarterback that isn't going to lose any games for them, Philip Rivers, who may be seen as a hot-head, but can still produce when called upon.

They have a great tight end, Antonio Gates, who burst onto the NFL radar a few years ago and has kept his production at a high level every year, nearly going over 1,000 yards receiving last season despite battling an injury.

They have one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Antonio Cromartie, who had 10 interceptions last season, including three against Peyton Manning.  He also holds the NFL record for longest return with a 109-yard missed field goal return last season against the Minnesota Vikings.

They have one of the best defenses in the NFL, fifth in points allowed last season, that can hold a lead.

If these aren't reasons enough for this team being a contender, you probably live in Boston and are pampered by your sports teams.


My Prediction

Again, this is going to be one of the best teams in the NFL.  I am going to put them at 13-3 or even 14-2, ready for a deep playoff run and even, gulp, a Super Bowl.


I'm Joe W.

Joe also writes for, a Chicago Cubs blog, and, a basketball fan's site.