Given this article is a couple days old, let us examine how Pete Prisco is Wrong about the San Diego Chargers...
By Pete Prisco
Sep. 2, 2010
Does any team have it easier than the San Diego Chargers? Wait you are right, they have perfect weather...But as far as football is concerned. The Chargers "easy"schedule ends on 9/12/2010. It is time to play!
If the Chargers don't win the AFC West, coach Norv Turner might be facing a firing squad. That's how much of a favorite they will be this season. Better start updating your resume, Norv!
The Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs might all be improving, but they aren't in the same class with the Chargers. It's hard to imagine San Diego not winning this division, barring an injury that knocked out quarterback Philip Rivers. An injury to Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers, Malcom Floyd, or Shawne Merriman change everything about the San Diego Chargers!
Even if receiver Vincent Jackson and tackle Marcus McNeil, two players in contract disputes who haven't been around, don't show up, the Chargers still have way too much talent for the rest of the division. The absense of these two players will effect the Chargers from the start regardless of their addition of Patrick Crayton...
It starts with Rivers, but it includes tight end Antonio Gates and rookie running back Ryan Mathews on offense. The defense has to get more from outside rusher Shawne Merriman, who is in a contract year again, if they are to improve. Ryan Mathews is a rookie and Shawne Merriman is playing on a bad achillis tendon already.
The opening six games of the schedule are favorable for a team that has usually started slow under Turner. The Chargers play one playoff team from last season in the first six weeks, and that's Arizona at home in Week 4.
San Diego will start fast -- and should cruise to the division title. Arrowhead Stadium will be the loudest place Philip Rivers has every played and it will effect every snap. The San Diego Chargers have the tendency to start slow especially on the road.
The other three teams have issues. The Broncos have settled on Kyle Orton as their quarterback, and he has played pretty well in the preseason. But he is limited down the field. The Broncos have also been hit hard by injuries.
The Chiefs will be improved, but not by much. Quarterback Matt Cassel has to show me more before I think this team can push for a playoff spot. Tune into ESPN on 9/13/2010 for the second MNF game. Bare witness!
Oakland is an interesting team. If Jason Campbell can play well, the Raiders will be competitive and, dare I say, maybe in the wild-card mix come the end of the season. This is a team that has talent, but must find a way to put it all together. The Raiders can't keep Jason Campbell or any QB healthy. The offensive line has holes.
As it looks now, though, the Chargers ticket office might want to get a head start on printing those playoff tickets. Are you freakin' high, this will send everyone into a panic attack when the Chiefs dismantle their plans.
Either that, or Turner might want to look for a real-estate agent. I have a couple of good brokers I could refer him too.
Significant additions: RB Ryan Mathews, CB Donald Strickland, CB Nathan Vasher, S Darrell Stuckey and DT Cam Thomas.
Significant losses: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, CB Antonio Cromartie, DT Jamal Williams, ILB Tim Dobbins, WR Kassim Osgood.
Biggest offseason move: Letting Tomlinson go and drafting Mathews to take over as the No. 1 back. It's the right move, but risky. Again he is a rookie and the season will be long for Mathews.
Will go to the playoffs if ... Things go as planned. They are clearly the team to beat in this division. It's not even close.
Rookie to watch: Mathews. They traded up into the first round to get him for a reason. He has impressed during the preseason.
|Predicted Order of Finish Apparently you are guessing here and didn't watch the preseason at all...|
|1 Chargers||2009: 13-3 (1st AFC West)|
Pts. Scored: 454 (4th overall)
Pts. Allowed: 320 (11th overall)
Off. Yds/G: 360.1 (10th overall)
Def. Yds/G: 327.0 (16th overall)
|2 Raiders||2009: 5-11 (3rd AFC West)|
Pts. Scored: 197 (31st overall)
Pts. Allowed: 379 (23rd overall)
Off. Yds/G: 266.1 (31st overall)
Def. Yds/G: 361.9 (26th overall)
|3 Broncos||2009: 8-8 (2nd AFC West)|
Pts. Scored: 326 (20th overall)
Pts. Allowed: 324 (12th overall)
Off. Yds/G: 341.4 (15th overall)
Def. Yds/G: 315.0 (7th overall)
|4 Chiefs||2009: 4-12 (4th AFC West)|
Pts. Scored: 294 (23rd overall)
Pts. Allowed: 424 (29th overall)
Off. Yds/G: 303.2 (25th overall)
Def. Yds/G: 388.2 (30th overall)
Overview: The only thing that can stop this team from being a playoff team is if Rivers goes down. He runs the show and there isn't much behind him. Other than that, expect them to cruise to the postseason. There is still a lot of talent on the roster. They do have to get Mathews going early to help take the pressure off the passing game. That should be doable. The defense has to get more from the pass rush, and they have to do a good job replacing Williams in the middle. They will do that by committee. The holdouts of receiver Jackson and tackle McNeil could impact the season some, but I say they're back in soon enough. The Chargers' season won't be about what they do in the regular season. It's about the playoffs. That's when the real story begins. Can they get to a Super Bowl? NO because Rivers won't finish the season as quarterback, Vincent Jackson will holdout or be traded, Merrimam can't stay healthy and is getting older, and the Chiefs have improved on both sides of the ball.
Significant losses: MLB Kirk Morrison, DE Greg Ellis, DT Gerard Warren and RB Justin Fargas.
Biggest offseason move: Getting Campbell to take over as the starting quarterback. He is clearly an upgrade over JaMarcus Russell. Who isn't?
Will go to the playoffs if ... Campbell shows more than he did in Washington. Don't laugh. It's possible.
Rookie to watch: McClain. They traded away starting linebacker Kirk Morrison because of McClain. He has the size and speed that Al Davis loves.
Overview: I like the addition of Campbell. If he can get protection, he has a chance to be a solid starter in Oakland. The key will be the running game behind him and the line in front of him. The Raiders have to protect better and running back Darren McFadden has to stay on the field. The defense has talent, starting with cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. He can take away the other team's best receiver. But this is a defense that needs a big year from Richard Seymour up front and McClain at linebacker. If Campbell can get it going, the Raiders might push for the second spot in the division. If not, coach Tom Cable will be gone after the season.
Significant losses: WR Brandon Marshall, ILB Andra Davis, TE Tony Scheffler, C Casey Wiegmann and DE Kenny Peterson.
Biggest offseason move: (tie) Trading Marshall to the Dolphins and drafting Tebow in the first round. The latter is a risky move, but one that has drawn a lot of attention.
Will go to the playoffs if ... Orton becomes a prolific passer, meaning 3,900 yards and 25 touchdown passes.
Rookie to watch: Tebow. Let's face it. Even if he's on the bench, he's going to be watched.
Overview: They've had way too many injuries to come close to pushing the Chargers. Losing linebacker Elvis Dumervil really hits the defense. He was their pass rush. Where does it come from now? On offense, coach Josh McDaniels will do a good job of scheming up the passing game. Orton is a solid starter, but it's doubtful he can be more than that. The Broncos have to do a better job of getting big plays in the passing game, which might be tough with Marshall now in Miami. It's hard to believe that this team had Jay Cutler throwing to Marshall two years ago and now has Orton to Eddie Royal as the top passing option. At least Denver can get caught up in the Tebow-mania when he's used on gimmick plays. They will be competitive in games, but there's not enough talent here.
Significant losses: T Wade Smith and WR Bobby Wade. We don't need them. Asamoah will be a great addition.
Biggest offseason move: Adding Thomas Jones to complement the running game. He runs hard and is a nice addition to go with Jamaal Charles.
Rookie to watch: Berry. He has been starting since he showed up. He has great range and a nose for the football. Some scouts compare him to Baltimore's Ed Reed. That's high praise. AND Dexter and Javier....Pay attention Pistol!!!
Will go to the playoffs if ... Matt Cassel plays better than he did in 2009. The Chiefs have to do a better job protecting him, but he has to play better as well.
Overview: The Chiefs will be better, but it might not show up in the record. They've made some nice additions and the rookies will help. But the key here is how well the offensive line can come together. It wasn't great in the preseason. Cassel has to be better in his decision-making. The Chiefs will use the running game with Charles and Jones to key their offense. The defense has some young talent. But it's time for some of these premium draft picks to play like it. Todd Haley's team will be lucky to get to .500.
What do you guys think???
My further predictions: D. Williams and Eric Berry will lay out Ryan Matthews - it will change the game. We will record 4+ sacks against the Chargers if we can wrap up Philip Rivers' big goofy ass. We will win the field position battle - thanks in advance Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas. Chiefs WIN!!!
NOW Arrowhead Faithful - you better join me in being louder than you have ever been. I want Philip Rivers to have a Migraine in the 1st Quarter and seeing a sea of red in his dreams for weeks as he relives his nightmare!!!!
P.S. I have already been wearing my red Kansas City Chiefs hard hat around the house carrying my game and plan tickets...It is time to go to work!!!