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NFL Team Preview: Chargers
NFL Team Preview: Chargers
By WagerWeb.com Contributing Writer
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The San Diego Chargers had the most talent of any non-playoff team last season. Their frustrating season was marked by inconsistency. A demoralizing loss to Miami at home in Week 14 and back-to-back losses to division rivals Kansas City and Denver sealed San Diegoís fate a year ago. Now, the Chargers look to rebound with a new quarterback at the helm and a suspect defense.
The biggest decision San Diego made this offseason was to let Pro Bowl QB Drew Brees go to New Orleans as a free agent. That leaves third-year pro Philip Rivers in charge of the offense. Rivers has thrown a total of 30 NFL passes in two seasons, completing 17 of them. Despite his lack of experience, Rivers has been groomed for this job, and he and his teammates are confident the potent San Diego offense wonít miss a beat with the former North Carolina State star directing it.
"He's been throwing strikes all camp," RB LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Not only has he been throwing hard, but he's been accurate and making perfect reads. He feels defenses very well." WR Keenan McCardell has also noticed Riversí passing prowess. "He's very accurate. He shocked me with how accurate he is."
Key Additions: DB Marlon McCree, TE Aaron Shea, CB Antonio Cromartie (rookie), OT Marcus McNeill (rookie), QB Charlie Whitehurst.
Key Subtractions: LBs Donnie Edwards and Ben Leber, QB Brees, WR Reche Caldwell, TE Justin Peelle, C Bob Hallen.
Sportsbook Odds: The Chargers have a much easier schedule than last season. As long as Rivers keeps performing well, San Diego will be in the playoff hunt and has a good shot of winning the AFC West. WagerWeb.com has San Diego as $+250 to win the AFC West, +00 to win the AFC championship and XXX to win Super Bowl XLI.
Player to Watch: Rivers has plenty of weapons around him to be a successful NFL quarterback. Tomlinson is arguably the best running back in the league. Antonio Gates is the unquestioned best tight end in the league. McCardell is a great possession receiver, and Eric Parker, Vincent Jackson and Kassim Osgood will round out a decent receiving corps. If the Chargersí solid offensive line can give Rivers some time and LT continues to tear it up on the ground, San Diego will be better than last season.
Outlook: Rivers should be able to get off to a good start and gain more confidence as San Diego opens the season against two of the worst defenses in the league, Oakland and Tennessee. The Chargers' offense wonít be the problem, however. Their defense, which ranked 30th against the pass last season, hasnít improved much. If Cromartie can shake off the injury-prone tag he acquired in college, and Quentin Jammer continues to improve, San Diego should be able to outscore most of its opponents and get back to the playoffs.
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About the Author: Bet NFL with the Best Odds, click here! You can find the latest free NFL picks at ecobika site!