Every year, the San Diego Chargers struggle with turnovers, penalties and loss of personnel. Yet every year, they are considered major contenders to win the AFC.
This year, Peter King of Sports Illustrated picked them to win the AFC. PredictionMachine.com had them the single most likely team to win their conference.
I understand that you have to make the playoffs to win your conference. I understand them being the pick in their weak division—the Chargers' flaws led me to pick the Kansas City Chiefs in my AFC West preview, but the Chiefs flaws led me to back off of that statement before the seasons started.
But even if you knew Peyton Manning was not going to play for the Colts, whoever won the AFC East and North was going to be better than the Chargers. Even wild card teams from those divisions might be.
That means to even get to the Super Bowl, the Chargers were going to have to beat one or two teams better than them. That requires a team that knows how to get things done in January, not one that consistently fails. It requires better coaching and discipline than the Chargers have.
The Chargers are in a similar situation in trying to beat the Packers this week. They are in shambles after blowing two games in a row and are banged up coming off a short week.
Green Bay is 4-1 under Mike McCarthy coming off a bye, and the coaches and players are too focused for a letdown. That far outweighs any home-field advantage, giving Green Bay a sizable edge in miscellaneous factors Sunday.