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San Diego Chargers will easily capture AFC West division

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    When the San Diego Chargers are healthy, they could be the most talented team in the NFL.

    They weren't healthy in last season's playoffs and lost to New England in the AFC Championship Game.
    Star linebacker Shawne Merriman is taking a risk trying to play on a bad knee, but the outlook on offense is much brighter.

    If quarterback Philip Rivers, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates all are 100 percent, coupled with a full season from wide receiver Chris Chambers and increased contributions from running back Darren Sproles and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, San Diego would be tough to stop.
    There is a huge drop in talent for the other teams in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos have a slim chance to finish .500 but the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have no shot.
    San Diego Chargers

    Coach Norv Turner; 11-5 last season; outscored opponents 412-284; lost to New England, 21-12, in the AFC title game. The Chargers should win the division by default and could be an outstanding team if Rivers bounces back from knee surgery and has a big year, Tomlinson stays healthy and Merriman's knee holds up.
    Key additions: LB Derek Smith, OT L.J. Shelton.

    Significant losses: DB Drayton Florence, S Marlon McCree, FB Lorenzo Neal, OT Shane Olivea, RB Michael Turner.
    Why they could reach Super Bowl XLIII: Exceptional talent on both sides of the football. ... Rivers passing to Chambers, Jackson and Gates. ... the NFL's best all-around running back in Tomlinson. ... Sproles makes up for the departure of No. 2 RB Turner. ... left side of the offensive line with tackle Marcus McNeill and guard Kris Dielman. ... nose tackle Jamal Williams. ... DE Igor Olshansky against the run. ... outside linebackers Merriman and Shaun Phillips. ... Antonio Cromartie and Eric Weddle in the secondary. ... punter Mike Scifres.
    Worst-case scenario: Rivers goes down. ... Tomlinson has lost something. ... Gates' dislocated toe continues to be a problem. ... suspect right side of the OL. ... Merriman's knee gives out. ... inside linebackers remain average at best.
    Stats and facts: The 2007 Chargers led the NFL with a plus-24 turnover differential (48 takeaways and 24 giveaways). ... 7-1 home and 4-4 away. ... outsacked opponents 42-24. ... 5th in scoring and 5th in fewest points allowed. ... started 5-5 and then won 8 in a row before AFC title game loss to the Patriots. ... Cromartie led the NFL with 10 interceptions. ... allowed only 10 TDs at home. ... threw NFL-low 42 percent of passes to wide receivers. ... Rivers is 25-7 as a starter in the regular season (behind only Tom Brady's 86-24 among active QBs). ... no Charger ever won an NFL rushing title until Tomlinson in 2006 and 2007. ... allowed Minnesota (featuring Adrian Peterson) to rush for 378 yards in one game but allowed only 88.9 yards rushing per game in the other 15 regular season games.
    Predicted record: 13-3.

    Denver Broncos

    Coach Mike Shanahan; 7-9 last season; outscored by opponents 409-320.

    Poor drafting finally caught up with the Broncos last season as they had only their fourth losing season since selecting John Elway in 1983 and the second losing record in Shanahan's 13 years as coach.
    Problems stopping the run and a shortage of quality targets for quarterback Jay Cutler could contribute to a second straight losing season in 2008.

    Key additions: LB Boss Bailey, WR Keary Colbert, WR Darrell Jackson, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Marlon McCree, WR Samie Parker, DT Dewayne Robertson, C Casey Wiegmann, S Calvin Lowry.
    Significant losses: PK Jason Elam, RB Travis Henry, S Nick Ferguson, LB Ian Gold, S John Lynch, C Chris Myers, WR Javon Walker, WR Rod Smith, DB Domonique Foxworth.
    Why they could finish: .500 Cutler has high potential. ... Selvin Young could be the latest surprise 1,200-yard Broncos rusher. ... wide receiver Brandon Marshall. ... pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. ... outside linebacker D.J Williams. ... cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Dre Bly. ... take advantage of easy schedule including NFC South and AFC East.
    Worst-case scenario: Lack of offensive playmakers makes it difficult to score. ... rookie OLT Ryan Clady isn't ready. ... Brandon Marshall can't stay out of trouble. ... can't stop the run again. ... imports Robertson, Boss Bailey and McCree don't significantly bolster the defense. ... shabby play by linebackers and safeties. ... Elam's clutch kicking is missed.
    Stats and facts: The 2007 Broncos ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed, 28th in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed per game. ... 5-3 home and 2-6 away. ... 4th in average gain per offensive play (5.68 yards). ... 4th with 218 plays of at least 10 yards. ... play San Diego Week 2: lost both meetings last season by combined 64-6. ... won only one playoff game in the last nine seasons.
    Predicted record: 6-10.
     
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Oakland Raiders

    Coach Lane Kiffin; 4-12 last season; outscored by opponents 398-283. New starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell and rookie running back Darren McFadden have potential but this is a transition year for the Raiders.
    Key additions: DE Kalimba Edwards, CB DeAngelo Hall, OT Kwame Harris, DT William Joseph, C John Wade, WR Javon Walker, S Gibril Wilson, WR Ashley Lelie.
    Significant losses: QB Josh McCown, WR Jerry Porter, RB Dominic Rhodes, DT Warren Sapp, CB Fabian Washington.

    Why they might win six games: Russell and McFadden could have spectacular seasons. ... depth at RB with McFadden and Justin Fargas. ... might improve in rush defense. ... Walker upgrades receiving corps. ... tight end Zach Miller. ... linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard. ... secondary could be very good with cornerbacks Hall and Nnamdi Asomugha, and safeties Wilson and Michael Huff. ... excellent kicking game with Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler. ... favorable schedule (only 4 games vs. 2007 playoff teams and 9 games vs. opponents that finished under .500).
    Worst-case scenario: Growing pains for Russell and McFadden. ... holes remain on both lines. ... DT Tommy Kelly doesn't come close to justifying being the highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL. ... Kiffin quits or gets fired before the season ends. Owner Al Davis asked him to resign in the offseason.
    Stats and facts: The 2007 Raiders were minus-11 in turnovers (37 takeaways and 26 giveaways). ... allowed second-worst 5.74 yards per defensive play. ... 31st in rush defense. ... 10 different RBs ran for 100 yards vs. Raiders. ... allowed NFL-most 4.8 yards per rush. ... 25th in offensive yards per game. ... 6th in rushing yards but 31st in passing yards. ... 28th in point differential. ... 6-34 on the road the last five seasons. ... NFL-worst 19-61 last five seasons. ... 5-12 in last 17 Monday Night Football games (were 31-11-1 prior to that).
    Predicted record: 6-10.

    Kansas City Chiefs

    Coach Herm Edwards; 4-12 last season; outscored by opponents 335-226.

    For years the Chiefs were one of the NFL's oldest teams. They also were a pretty good team. Edwards has made the team much younger but it isn't nearly as good. He plans to build a superior defense but he has a long way to go and running back Larry Johnson and tight end Tony Gonzalez are pretty much a two-man offense.
    Key additions: PK Billy Cundiff, KR B.J. Sams, OLB Demorrio Williams.

    Significant losses: De Jared Allen, WR Eddie Kennison, OT Kyle Turley, OF John Welbourn, C Casey Wiegmann,, CB Ty Law.
    Why they might win five games: Johnson and Gonzalez continue to play like the Pro Bowlers they are. ... Brodie Croyle blossoms at quarterback. ... return of a healthy Johnson for 300-plus carries. ... wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. ... tight end Gonzalez. ... decent defensive front seven. ... rookie Glenn Dorsey anchors the defensive line. ... linebackers Derrick Johnson and Demorrio Williams, and cornerback Brandon Flowers. ... punter Dustin Colquitt.
    Worst-case scenario: Croyle continues to struggle and Johnson runs into a heavy dose of 8-man fronts. ... the running game is as lousy as it was last season (NFL-fewest 78 yards rushing per game) ... lack of depth at wide receiver. ... weak pass rush minus Jared Allen (traded to Minnesota after leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks).
    Stats and facts: The 2007 Chiefs ranked 31st in points (14.13 per game), yards per play (4.42), yards per rush (3.26) and yards per game (276.81). ... 30th in yards per pass (9.5). ... minus-11 in turnovers (22 takeaways and 33 giveaways). ... led the NFL in blown blocks by OL. ... 2-6 home (13-3 in 2005-06) and 2-6 away.
    Predicted record: 3-13.
     

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