For the past decade the San Diego Chargers have been playoff contenders and are generally the preseason favorite to win their division. For the past two seasons, however, they have not been able to put together a consistent season. In 2010 they started off 2-5 and then won 7 of their next 9 falling short of the playoffs. Then in 2011 they started off the season 4-1 only to go on a six game skid coming up short again to the Tim Tebow led Broncos.
Phillip Rivers, at times, is in the elite quarterback category with Rodgers, Brady, Brees and both Mannings. The difference between those quarterbacks and Rivers is that those quarterbacks also have elite coaches (and rings). If you are looking to point the finger at someone for the perpetual underachievement of the Chargers, point directly at Norv Turner. He took over a Chargers team in 2007 that was loaded with Pro Bowl talent up and down the roster and it has been a steady decline ever since.
There biggest offseason acquisition was signing former Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem to a four year contract. Prior to that, they parted ways with 2 time Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson who was River's favorite target. Their draft was headlined by Melvin Ingram, a solid defensive end/outside linebacker from South Carolina and Ladarious Green, a receiving tight end out of University of Louisiana Lafayette.
If our new secondary doesn't get tested against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, they will against the Chargers. Not necessarily because of the Chargers receiving core (which is decent) but because of the high volume of passes. Their offensive line is very similar to ours: it's good, but certainly not great. Not to mention they are losing 3 lineman with a combined career total of 283 starts for the Chargers: Marcus McNeill, Kris Dielman and Scott Mruczkowski.
The game is in San Diego which is generally tough for any East Coast team but the Mike Smith led Falcons have proven otherwise. The Falcons are currently 5-0 since 2008 (including at San Diego in 2008) and most of those games have been blowouts.
Vegas has the Chargers at -3.5 for this game, which is way off. I'll admit, the type the Falcons usually struggle with are teams that throw it all over the yard, however with Vincent Jackson gone and Robert Meachem, nothing more than a system player replacing him, their passing attack does not strike much fear into my eyes. Furthermore, that is all they can do. The San Diego Charger's rushing game has been average at best since LT left in 2010 (in actuality it started to decline when Lorenzo Neal left after 2007 but that discussion is for a different day).
I see the Falcons in somewhat of a route in this game winning 34-20 and Matt Ryan and Mike Smith improving to 6-0 on the West Coast. This will be the beginning of what is yet another mediocre season for Norv Turner.
After week 3:
Best case scenario for Falcons: 3-0
Worst case: 1-2
Likely record: 2-1
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