San Diego Chargers: Predicting the 5 Most Important Games of the Season
The upcoming 2011 regular season will be one of numerous upstanding questions for the San Diego Chargers.
Will the Chargers come back from their early season woes? Will Ryan Mathews live up to the hype as a 12th overall pick? Have the special teams improved from their inconsolable performance in 2010 that led to the Chargers' downfall?
And the one question San Diego fans are just itching to have answered this season:
Will the San Diego Chargers live up to expectations and win Super Bowl XLVI?
The fans' wish will be granted if the Chargers can respond to these very questions and show the league what they're really made of, and show them that they are the very team that can win a Super Bowl.
But there are some games in the 2011 that could test the Chargers' all the way up to Week 17. These games will determine if the Bolts have what it takes to prove their worth.
Week 1: Minnesota Vikings @ San Diego Chargers
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What way to start off answering those "Will the Chargers start off strong?" questions than winning the first game of the season?
The San Diego Chargers look to make a statement to the critics, nonbelievers and the league that the Bolts are ready to strike this season and take over the league by force.
So they lost Sidney Rice, who cares, he was only good for one season with Brett Favre at the helm. Favre is retired (I'm hoping) and Rice is now in Seattle along with former Vikings teammate Tarvaris Jackson; the Vikings are going to stick with McNabb, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and whoever else McNabb has to throw to.
Keep in mind they still have that monster of a running back, Adrian Peterson to carry the load for the Vikings.
This will be a surmountable test for the Chargers to go up against in the first week of the season. With the game being hosted by the Chargers, they hope that'll give them an edge in winning this one and getting off to that fast start that has been eluding them for a few years.
Week 2: San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots
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This game should be marked on every fan in the NFL's calendar.
The Patriots were on top of the headlines when they acquired DT Albert Haynesworth, who shouldn't be much of a problem, he's past his time, and WR Chad Ochocinco, who is still a major threat in the league. I expect Ochocinco to have a season much like Randy Moss' in 2007.
Don't forget about the Pats superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who is still as sharp as ever.
If the Chargers get a win here, and have an upstanding 2-0 record, it'll definitely give them the recognition that would make them the team to beat in the AFC, as well as put a shiny red target on them.
Week 8: San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
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This game is a bit familiar.
Oh yeah, I remember.
This year, it's the same deal; Monday Night Football on ESPN, in Kansas City with the Chargers versus the Chiefs.
Anyone feeling a bit of déjà vu going on here?
All I know, is that the Chargers are hoping to avenge their 2010 season with a win here. The Chargers slow start started here. Their special team flaws started here. The questions arose and haunted the Bolts for the entire 2010 season.
They go to Kansas City to show the Chiefs that what happened last season was just a fluke, just like they massacred them in San Diego last year 31-0.
Week 10: Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers and their fans are looking for some revenge; this rivalry will be rejuvenated and at its best this year.
Last season, the Oakland Raiders went undefeated in the AFC West, that included sweeping the Chargers last year.
The Raiders are looking like a team on the rise, and even though I'm a Charger fan, I can't disagree. They've been making smart decisions the last few years that could turn out to help them in the long run.
There will be another game between the two teams at the end of the season in Oakland in Week 17. Who knows? It could be for the AFC West Championship.
Week 15: Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers
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This game is just as good as the Bolts-Pats game.
The Baltimore Ravens go into San Diego with possible playoff seed contention on the line, so don't expect either team to sit out their starters because they're vying for, possibly, home-field advantage.
This will be a game worth watching, as both teams should be moving on to the postseason.