Monday, September 03, 2007

Chargers 2007: Hope Springs Eternal

The regular season is finally here. Chargers fans have had 8 months to recover from the disappointment of the playoff loss to New England, the firing of Marty Schottenheimer and the hiring of Norv Turner as head coach and many assistant coaches.

A.J. Smith did a nice job of drafting talent to back up a veteran and talented squad. The 53 man roster looks great on paper. There are questions, however:

* Will the front seven defense be as active as they were last year? I think so - perhaps even more active.
* Will the secondary be better in pass defense? I doubt it - it's essentially the same players and the same scheme. Perhaps Hart starting at safety and Weddle as the nickel back will help some.
* Will the offensive line be as good as last year? Probably - it's pretty much the same guys with another year of experience.
* Will the receivers be better than last year? I sure hope so, they were the weakest unit on the team last year, Antonio Gates notwithstanding. Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd need to step up until Eric Parker returns. Antonio Gates needs to retain his superiority at TE.
* Will Phillip Rivers be as consistent as he was in the last 12 games last year? I hope so - but a second-year (in experience) QB often takes a step backwards. If he gets hurt, Billy Volek has the experience to step in, but he's not Rivers.
* Will LT get 2,000 yards and 30 TDs? I actually hope not - he needs to be spelled on occasion, and the offense needs to be multi-faceted. Michael Turner needs to recover from his ankle injury and do run again. What happens if Turner goes down? Darren Sproles?
* Will the punt return team be more successful this year? I hope so - we need fewer fumbles, fewer penalties and longer returns.

However, the schedule is much tougher than last year - we start with Chicago Bears at home this Sunday, then travel to New England. Both are quality teams.

My crystal ball says the Chargers will be 11-5 this year (I tend to be pessimistic in my predictions!). You cannot predict what injuries will happen or what bad luck (weather, bounces) or dumb players (penalties, fumbles, drugs, etc.) the team will endure. That's why we play the games!

Picking this week's winners:

New Orleans over Indianapolis (H) (Thursday)
Kansas City over Houston (H)
Denver over Buffalo (H)
Pittsburgh over Cleveland (H)
Tennessee over Jacksonville (H)
St. Louis (H) over Carolina
Philadelphia over Green Bay (H)
Minnesota (H) over Atlanta
Washington (H) over Miami
New England over NY Jets (H)
Seattle (H) over Tampa Bay
Detroit over Oakland (H)
Dallas (H) over NY Giants
San Diego (H) over Chicago
Baltimore over Cincinnati (H) (Monday)
San Francisco (H) over Arizona (Monday)

How's my crystal ball? Tune in next week to find out how it did.


I didn't do so well in Week 1, did I? I got Denver, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, New England, Washington, Minnesota, Seattle, Detroit, San Diego, Dallas, and San Francisco right - a total of 11 out of 16. 9 home teams won.

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