The San Diego Chargers are once again the heavy favorites to win their fifth-straight AFC West crown, however it may not rest solely on the arm of Philip Rivers, but on the legs and sure hands of first-round draft pick Ryan Mathews.
Mathews who is the heir-apparent to departed running back LaDainian Tomlinson was impressive in his first preseason game Saturday against the Bears where on nine carries he gained 50 yards. In one instance, bouncing off defenders and then powering up field for a large gain.
The underlying question will remain if the holdouts of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tacklet Marcus McNeill effect the Chargers hopes of a playoff or Super Bowl run.
In Jackson's absence wide receivers Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee are looking to have breakout seasons.
Don't count out the Chargers defense.
Shawne Merriman has returned after missing a majority of training camp, but in his absence, linebacker Larry English was playing with the intensity that we saw from Merriman in his first two seasons.
The Chargers have the tools to make a run to the postseason, and to the Super Bowl, they just need to keep playing with intensity and believe they can win it all.
Odds to win AFC Championship: 9/2
Odds to win Super Bowl: 17/2