Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chargers haven't accomplished anything, yet

The Chargers will try to do something Saturday night they have yet to do all season:

Beat a playoff team.

All eight of their wins during the regular season came against teams that failed to make the playoffs: Kansas City (twice), Oakland (twice), Denver, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets.

Five of their eight losses were against teams in the playoffs: Carolina, Miami, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

What does this all mean for the playoffs?

Nothing (and how many times this week will you hear everybody is 0-0 starting the playoffs?)

The Chargers did have some significant accomplishments:
They are the first team ever to start 4-8 and make the playoffs
They are the first team ever to make up a three-game deficit in the final three weeks of the season to win a division
They have not lost a December game in three years

Historically, the Chargers have had similar seasons:
In 1992, they became the first team ever to start a season 0-4 and make the playoffs
In 1995, they started 4-7 but made the playoffs by winning their final five games.

And by the way, the 1995 team lost its first playoff game at home to the Indianapolis Colts, 35-20.

The Chargers can only hope history does not repeat itself 13 years later.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Will Chargers feast on Broncos?

We all know what is ... and has been ... at stake for the Chargers.

They’ve received the help they needed; now it’s time to help themselves.

The stumbling Denver Broncos seem to be a perfect post-Christmas dessert for getting into the playoffs.

Not so fast!

The Broncos do lose at home when they are expected to win (see: Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills.)

But they are most potent on the road when they are supposed to lose (see: Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets.)

If the Broncos keep up their unpredictable trends of 2008, they have a good chance Sunday Night.

Don’t count on it.

Chargers 31, Broncos 23

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fate smiling on Chargers:)

Ed Hochuli aside, fate has been smiling on the Chargers this year.

How else can you explain a 7-8 team that can advance to the playoffs with a win Sunday Night at home vs. the Denver Broncos?

How else can you explain the Broncos losing at home to the Buffalo Bills?

And how else can you explain the Chargers (if they are 8-8) playing at HOME against the Indianapolis Colts (12-4 or 11-5) in the wild card round of the playoffs if the Chargers win this week?

Yes, despite it all, everything really has gone the Chargers’ way this year.

After this week, two teams among Baltimore (10-5), Miami (10-5), New England (10-5) and the New York Jets (9-6) will sit home during the playoffs.

All will have a better record than the Chargers or Denver – yet the Chargers or Broncos will go to the playoffs.

The Chargers certainly did their part with a dominating 41-24 win at Tampa Bay yesterday.

But more than anything, the stars have aligned just right for the Chargers in situations they did not control.

And to think they now control their own destiny!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life more than fair to Chargers?

We all know that life isn’t fair sometimes.

For the Chargers, that’s a good thing.

If they still somehow manage to make the playoffs by finishing with an 8-8 record, it won’t be fair to many teams.

After all, teams such as Indianapolis, Baltimore, Miami, New England and the New York Jets will each finish with a better record than the Chargers.

But some of them will be on the outside looking in – whether the Chargers make the playoffs or sit home in January.

And as local TV personality Michael Turko says: “That ain’t right.”

It may not have been right when Denver beat the Chargers on a bogus call by referee Ed Hochuli in Week 2, but now the playoff picture is more than fair to the Chargers.

If the Chargers don’t win this week at Tampa Bay, forget about it. The Denver Broncos are in and the Chargers are out from the AFC West.

Yet should the Chargers someone win Sunday at Tampa Bay and Denver loses at home to Buffalo, the AFC West all comes down to Denver at San Diego on Dec. 28.

Don’t count on it!

Tampa Bay 17, Chargers 13

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brady Hoke needs to produce within three years

Brady Hoke is the first tough-talking football coach at San Diego State since Al Luginbill in the late 1980s and early ‘90s.

On the field, Hoke will need to have tougher teams than Luginbill.

Despite having Marshall Faulk and Darnay Scott in back-to-back seasons, Luginbill’s teams only finished .500 both of those years.

Hoke needs to get the Aztecs to .500 or better within three years, or the football team may fold when SDSU selects its next president after Stephen Weber retires in 2 ½ years. (Weber has made it clear the team will continue to exist on his watch.)

It took Hoke five years into his six-year tenure at Ball State to turn that team around.

He had four straight losing records before finally finishing above .500. Then this year’s team was a remarkable 12-1.

However, starting with four (or even three) consecutive losing seasons at SDSU could mean the end of Aztec football.

Under Weber’s watch, the athletics program keeps begging and borrowing from other campus entities, boosters, etc. to keep going. In a down economy, this can’t go on forever.

Brady Hoke basically has three years to get things going. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if Weber’s successor will be charged with the task of pulling the plug on Aztec football.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chargers: Luckiest team in the NFL

Let’s not talk any more about how the Chargers have lost four games in the final 24 seconds.

Let’s not blame it on Ed Hochuli if the Chargers don’t make the playoffs.

When you come right down to it, the Chargers are the luckiest team in the NFL from Week 15.

Outplayed for 59 minutes by Kansas City, the Chargers stumbled their way to a 22-21 win over the two-win Chiefs on Sunday.

This was more luck than anything. Kansas City isn’t 2-12 without reason; it doesn’t know how to win.

If the Chiefs knew how to win, they would have swept the Chargers this season; instead of being swept in a pair of one-point losses.

Everybody is on the bandwagon again now that the Chargers could stay alive in the coming week by winning at Tampa Bay (not likely) AND if Denver loses at home to Buffalo.

But here’s a sobering thought going into this week:

The Chargers have only beaten teams named Oakland and Kansas City since Week 6.

Unless the Chargers step it up about three notches against Tampa Bay, they’ll only be wishing they could play Oakland and Kansas City again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chargers trying to prolong the obvious

The Chargers have not lost a December game since 2005.

The Kansas City Chiefs have not been defeated at home since 1997 to a team they lost to in their first meeting of a particular season.

So, something has to give Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

How about the Chiefs … barely?

If the Chargers lose, the Denver Broncos will be celebrating an AFC West championship before playing the Carolina Panthers later that afternoon.

Don’t count on it.

The Chiefs (2-11) are a great reminder of the Ryan Leaf-led Chargers who went 1-15 in 2000.

They seemingly always play just well enough to lose; coming close but not closing out the deal.

Kansas City has 19 rookies on its roster, which makes it a team of the future. And don’t be surprised if the Chiefs surpass the Chargers by 2010 … as long as Norv Turner is still coaching in San Diego.

Expect the Chargers to stay alive this week by winning and later having the Broncos lose. But don’t hold your breath the next week when the Chargers are at Tampa Bay and Denver is at home against Buffalo.

The champagne should be flowing in Denver in about a week.

Chargers 24, Chiefs 22

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chargers may be bad; instead of unlucky

It’s easy to say the Chargers suffered from bad luck with All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman injured for the season.

But there’s another way to look at it: The Chargers have also been very lucky in some regards.

Take the Denver Broncos. They are down to their No. 6 running back due to injuries … yet they are still beating out the Chargers in the AFC West.

Tatum Bell, the current running back, was selling cell phones for a living last month.

And how about a couple of the opponents this season?

Carolina played their Chargers when its start receiver Steve Smith was suspended; yet the Panthers still won.

Kansas City faced the Chargers the first time around with standout running back Larry Johnson on suspension; yet came within a fumbled snap on an extra point of winning.

There’s no doubt the Chargers are worse off without Merriman, but how would they be faring without their top five running backs … a la the Broncos?

Without a doubt, they would be doing a lot worse than the Broncos … who are making the playoffs; not excuses.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cincinnati-Virginia Tech don't belong in Orange Bowl

Why are Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing in the Orange Bowl, one of five BCS games?

Let’s forget about the controversy over whether there should be a national championship playoff.

How about what happens on the other end of the BCS spectrum?

Cincinnati (Big East) and Virginia Tech (Atlantic Coast Conference) are only in a BCS game because their respective conferences are guaranteed a spot.

What does this say for conferences such as the Mountain West and Western Athletic, which clearly have more deserving teams this year?

The Poinsettia Bowl features Boise State (12-0) of the WAC against Texas Christian (10-2) of the Mountain West.

Boise State is ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press poll; TCU is No. 11. Each is ranked ahead of Orange Bowl competitors Cincinnati (No. 12) and Virginia Tech (No. 21).

Yet Boise State and TCU are playing pre-Christmas, while Cincinnati-Virginia Tech is featured on New Year’s Night. Ridiculous!

When you include Utah (No. 7) and Brigham Young (No. 17) along with TCU, the Mountain West has three teams rated ahead of Virginia Tech. Yet only Utah is in a BCS game via its perfect 12-0 season.

So while most people (rightfully) argue that the BCS should have an eight-team playoff to determine a national championship, the entire BCS needs to be revised.

There’s no way Cincinnati and Virginia Tech should be in a BCS game while the likes of Boise State, TCU and BYU are on the outside looking in.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Too bad Chargers can't always play Raiders

Are they the Super Chargers again, or what?

How about that suddenly spirited defense?

How about those three interceptions and three sacks?

How about LaDainian Tomlinson and his 91 rushing yards?

How about Vincent Jackson and his 148 receiving yards?

Are those Chargers dominant or just plain Super?

Whoops; forgot one thing.

Those were the pathetic-plus Oakland Raiders the Chargers beat 34-7 Thursday night.

Oakland is so bad that it probably couldn’t beat San Ysidro High School.

For all the talk about how the Chargers rebounded this week and could still make a run to the playoffs, just remember they don’t play the Raiders every week.

A game at Tampa Bay looms in two weeks; which will eliminate the Chargers from playoff contention if they haven’t already been eliminated by then.

But at least for one night, the Chargers did look like the team that most “experts” thought they would be all season long in 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chargers-Raiders: Not ready for prime time

“It’s Raider Short Week.”

With apologies to Marty Schottenheimer, we have added a word to his “It’s Raider Week” slogan as the Chargers prepare to host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

And with many apologies to Schottenheimer; he should still be the coach of the Chargers.

But you’re stuck with Norv Turner. And you’re stuck with General Manager A.J. Smith, who’s no John Wayne … or John Doe for that matter.

The dysfunctional Chargers might actually win a game against the Raiders.

If they do, you’ll hear all about how the team rallied around its embattled coach and sour-puss general manager.

But the real truth of the matter is that the Raiders stink. (Heck, they couldn’t even win at home against Kansas City.)

So if the Chargers look like a powerhouse this week, just remember they’re playing the Raiders.

If they add to their string of five losses in six games, look for management to sign Turner to a new contract.



Chargers 21, Raiders 17

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chargers' Norv Turner: It's time to go!

Let’s not even start out by saying that Norv Turner should be fired as head coach of the Chargers.

That’s so obvious … well; I guess we have to say it.

The only hope for Charger fans is that the team follows San Diego State’s lead.

Aztec coach Chuck Long was told he would be back for 2009 … but he’s gone.

We can only wish the Chargers do the same with their vote of confidence for Turner.

Owner Dean Spanos should have learned the first time.

When coach Bobby Ross and general manager Bobby Beathard were at odds, he fired the coach after the 1996 season.

Ten years later, he did the same thing when coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager A.J. Smith were at odds. (Coach goes; GM stays.)

By 1998, the Chargers were in shambles. Same thing; 10 years later.

This year’s team has an offense that has turned offensive.

The Chargers could muster only 201 yards in Sunday’s 22-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, with their longest (and only) touchdown drive covering 20 yards.

If Turner is an offensive genius, he’s doing a good job of hiding it.

And speaking of hiding, that’s exactly what the Charger brass should do if it brings back Turner and his history of not making the playoffs for another season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chargers' A.J. Smith: He's no John Wayne!

Notice how one local sports columnist often refers to Chargers’ General Manager A.J. Smith as John Wayne?

These days, he’d be better off calling Smith another “John Doe.”

In the “what have you done for me lately category,” the answer for Smith is simple:

Not much.

A.J. took much credit for building the Chargers with such free agent moves as bringing in veteran linebackers Randall Godfrey and Steve Foley in 2004 (not to mention drafting Philip Rivers in 2004 and Shawne Merriman in 2005.)

But when you look at the recent free agent/draft picks of the Chargers, it makes you wonder.

How about No. 1 draft pick Buster Davis from 2007? He’s a bust.

How about free agent linebacker Derek Smith, signed before the 2008 season? He’s no longer here.

And how about running back Michael Turner, who left the Chargers through free agency for the Atlanta Falcons?

He’s far superior this year to LaDainian Tomlinson, whose presence led to Turner’s departure.

Smith pounded his chest when the Chargers were successful under Marty Schottenheimer (at least during the regular season.)

Now he should hide his head in shame for hiring Norv Turner, who only makes the playoffs twice a decade as a head coach.

As much as Smith always wanted to take the credit, he certainly must take much of the heat for the team’s downfall in 2008.

Sunday selection:
Atlanta 24, Chargers 20 (Falcons win game on last drive!!!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

San Diego State needs to drop football

San Diego State has said good bye to football coach Chuck Long.
Now SDSU needs to say "good riddance" to its football program.
In short, the program is a joke. The Aztecs have suffered 10 straight non-winning seasons while recording a .333 "winning" percentage.
SDSU is among three of 23 California State University (CSU) schools still playing major college football.
Of the other two, Fresno State is successful and San Jose State at least keeps its head above water.
In tough financial times, SDSU President Stephen Weber keeps handing millions of "discretional" dollars to athletics.
Forget about overcrowded classrooms. Forget about the library.
Good money keeps being thrown at a horrible football team.
University sources say all departments are being told to tighten their financial belts during a bad economy.
Student fees will even be raised (again) to cover the athletics budget. (This, during a time when the CSU will admit 10,000 fewer students next school year.)
SDSU would have to leave the Mountain West Conference if it drops football.
So what. There is still the Big West, a competitive basketball conference which would save on the travel budget.
And at a time when the economy is at its worst, the worst thing for SDSU to do is keep alive a football program that is a terrible drain on the university budget.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Norv Turner: Downfall of the Chargers?

Let’s compare the head coaching careers of Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner.

The rap on Schottenheimer was that he could turn around a terrible team and win in the regular season, but never in the playoffs.

In contrast, Turner just flat-out has a history of not making the playoffs as a head coach (he’s only done it twice in 10 years.)

Two seasons very well justify the feelings about each coach, when you consider 2004 vs. 2008.

In 2004, Schottenheimer was coaching what was believed to be the least talented team in the NFL with the Chargers. (It was so bad that first-round draft pick Eli Manning refused to play for San Diego.)

So what happened?

The Chargers went 12-4, were the surprise team of the NFL and lost in the first round of the playoffs when Nate Kaeding couldn’t make a 40-yard field goal.

(Just what you would expect from Schottenheimer, who was 200-126 in the regular season and 5-13 in the playoffs.)

Fast forward to 2008:

The Chargers have what many consider the best talent in the NFL.

So what has Turner done for them lately? How about leading them to a 4-6 record and the distinction as the most disappointing team in the NFL thus far?

The Chargers got rid of Schottenheimer for not winning in the playoffs, only to hire someone who rarely makes the playoffs. What a shame it would be if this Turner-led team didn’t even make the postseason coming from a crummy AFC West division.

You want a head coach who at least make the playoffs, or one who makes the GM happy by being his buddy?

Unfortunately, you’re stuck with the latter.

Weekend predictions:
Indianapolis Colts 26, Chargers 24
UNLV 27, San Diego State 17

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chargers: Biggest flops in the NFL!

Which team is the most disappointing in the NFL?

Without a doubt, it’s the Chargers.

Here’s a team in the weakest AFC division by far that came into the season with Super Bowl expectations.

And here’s a team that finds itself two games behind the resurgent Denver Broncos with six to play.

So what is happening?

Where do you start …?

It’s almost inhumane to pick on head coach Norv Turner because his ineffectiveness as a leader is more than well documented.

The stubbornness of General Manager A. J. Smith has … and will continue … to drive successful players and coaches away from the team.

Then there’s the immediate:

This team has not recorded a turnover in 17 quarters … or more than four games.

The inept offense totaled 213 yards against Pittsburgh; or 197 fewer yards than the Steelers.

Pittsburgh had 110 more penalty yards than the Chargers; so much for the theory that the officials are against the Chargers.

Then there’s the defense that has allowed the opposition to score four times on its final drive in pressure situations. Three amounted to losses; the other to a one-point win vs. undermanned Kansas City.

Where this stops, nobody knows. Where it should start is with the dismissal of the egotistical Smith and the underachieving Turner.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chargers: Will weekend be the Pitts?

Let’s see now:

The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in total defense.

They are first in pass defense, second against the rush, and tops in sacks.

The Chargers can’t run the ball. (Just ask LaDainian Tomlinson, who has made an issue of it all week.)

They can pass; but they can’t protect the quarterback too well.

On top of all that, the Chargers were underwhelming in a one-point escape at home against lowly Kansas City last week.

So how can the Chargers possibly beat Pittsburgh?

Remember, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger is banged up and has one TD pass along with eight interceptions his last three games.

But therein lies the rub for the Chargers: They have recorded ZERO turnovers in the past 13 quarters.

It all comes down to the Chargers creating some turnovers or suffering their third loss in the past four games.

Steelers 21, Chargers 17
Utah 38, San Diego State 10

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Padres should close out Hoffman era

Sorry, but it’s time for Trevor Hoffman and the Padres to go their separate ways.

This is certainly not a knock on Hoffman. Nor is it one on the organization.

With all of the acrimony at this point, it would just be best for everyone if Hoffman departs.

If Hoffman has anything left at age 41, then he should be part of a pennant contender. It isn’t going to happen in San Diego.

Since the Padres are obviously rebuilding, they need to discover the identity of their next closer.

Hoffman, the all-time saves leader in Major League Baseball, has been an icon in San Diego for more than a decade.

But last season, it became apparent there wasn’t much gas left in his tank. His 2008 ERA of 3.77 paled in comparison to his career ERA of 2.78.

And remember, Hoffman came to the Padres in 1993 as part of a fire sale from the Florida Marlins.

For those old enough to recall, Hoffman was booed during his early years with the Padres because he represented (not by his own desire) the fire sale of the franchise.

Now, in a very similar situation, it’s time to find out whether Heath Bell can come within 50% of being the next Hoffman.

Maybe he will. Maybe he’ll be the next Gary Lucas.

But in either case, it’s time for Hoffman to join a contender … and the Padres to find their next closer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

There's no defense for the Chargers

Boy, was that “new look” Chargers’ defense impressive (tongue in cheek!)

Was it me, or did the “new” San Diego defense under Ron Rivera look the same as the old under Ted Cottrell?

Still no pressure on the quarterback. Still no turnovers in 13 quarters; and one in the past four games.

And still no stopping of another team’s final drive when the game was on the line.

With a 20-19 luck-out over Kansas City, the Chargers posed more questions than they answered.

What if the Chiefs hadn’t muffed a snap on an extra point? What if Kansas City had a decent play planned on a potential game-winning, 2-point conversion?

The Chargers would be looking at a 3-6 record, which still wouldn’t eliminate them from competition in the worst division ever in the NFL.

Under Rivera, it was the same-old, same-old for the Chargers defense.

The only players with above-average games defensively were Jamal Williams and Quentin Jammer.

Otherwise, this team was lucky KC played with a third-string quarterback, third-string running back and four defensive players who weren’t even on the team a week ago (and thus missed being included on the roster printed at mid-week.)

If the Chargers keep this up, they may not even post the 7-9 record it will take to win the woeful AFC West this season.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chargers primed for second half run?

The last time the Chargers were home, they held an opponent to 10 points.

Ted Cottrell’s defense was being praised, and the New England Patriots had their collective heads between their tales.

My, how times have changed.

Cottrell is no longer defensive coordinator of the Chargers; head coach Norv Turner has been very defensive of his move to make Ron Rivera his coordinator.

Has it really been nearly a month since the Chargers won their last home game by beating New England, 30-10?

Yes … and it has also be that long since the Chargers won a game.

Say hello to the downtrodden Kansas City Chiefs.

This game could be a landslide compared to what Barack Obama experienced this week.

The Chiefs can’t stop the run. Their top two quarterbacks are injured. Their most talented running back is suspended.

And, yet, one still can’t forget how Kansas City came in here and embarrassed the Chargers last season, 30-16.

The Chargers remember. That was when San Diego fans chanted “Mar-ty, Mar-ty,” in remembering fired coach Marty Schottenheimer and his 14-2 record from 2006.

Are the Chargers ready to make a second-half run like last season, or will the fans want to run them out of town again this weekend?

Chargers 34, Chiefs 13
Brigham Young 55, San Diego State 10

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jan Goldsmith: Chargers' last hope in San Diego?

Newly-elected city attorney Jan Goldsmith may be the Chargers’ last hope of staying in San Diego.

The team certainly wasn’t ever going to work out a stadium deal with current contentious city attorney Mike Aguirre.

Until Tuesday’s elections, the alternatives were:
(a) a new stadium in Chula Vista
(b) a new stadium at the 10th Avenue Terminal near downtown

Chula Vista won’t happen because it would be wrong to build a billion-dollar stadium in a city cutting back on employees.

The 10th Avenue Terminal is out now that the fine citizens of San Diego voted not to build a deck/possible stadium on top of the terminal.

That really narrows it down to one location: The current site at Qualcomm Stadium.

With the constant bickering between the Chargers and Aguirre, a new stadium wasn’t going to happen in the city of San Diego.

With Goldsmith, at least the Chargers should/will negotiate.

There’s no better place to build than the current Mission Valley site of Qualcomm Stadium.

It’s third and long: We’ll see whether the Chargers run a bootleg out of town or have civil negotiations with Goldsmith.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chargers could win AFC West with losing record

So you still think the Chargers won’t win the AFC West?

Did you see the Denver Broncos lose to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday?

At this point, the Broncos might not be able to beat the San Ysidro High junior varsity.

Denver is toast, but so are the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. So that leaves the Chargers to win the AFC West; probably even if they finish with a losing record at 7-9.

Sure, Denver leads the division at 4-4. (The Broncos will likely be 4-5 with a loss Thursday at Cleveland.) Then, if the Chargers win as expected Sunday at home vs. Kansas City, they’ll be tied for the division lead at 4-5.

How do you say “pathetic?”

At the midway point of the 2008 season, the numbers prove that the Chargers are indeed in the worst division in football.

Here’s a look at each division’s overall record in games outside its respective division:

NFC East 18-5
NFC South 16-7
AFC East 14-8
AFC South 12-8
AFC North 6-10
NFC North 7-13
NFC West 6-16
AFC West 5-17

Any question now as to whether the Chargers will win the worst division in football?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chargers: Is there any defense for Rivera?

OK, so it’s all on Ron Rivera now to save the season for the Chargers.

He says he’s going to bring more pressure on defense. Players say his system will be more effective than under fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.

Stay tuned.

Don’t be surprised if the revamped defense works right away.

After all, the Chargers return after this week’s bye to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 9.

It will be their first home games in four weeks, so the crowd will certainly be pumped up.

And what better way to break in a new defensive coordinator than against the Chiefs?

After all, what is there to fear against a team featuring Tyler Thigpen at quarterback and a disappearing Larry Johnson?

Heck, you would think a good community college team could stop the Chiefs.

The real Rivera test comes in mid-November with back-to-back-to-back games vs. Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Those games will make or break the season.

This week’s prediction:
Wyoming 27, San Diego State 22

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chargers fire defensive coordinator ... coach, GM next?

So Ted Cottrell is gone as defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Say hello to Ron Rivera.

Let’s face it: The Chargers fired Cottrell today because his tired defensive schemes weren’t working.

And in Rivera, they have a man who was defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears when they advanced to the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Now comes the real question: Will the Chargers live up to Rivera’s reputation as a defensive coordinator, or down to Norv Turner’s history as a head coach?

Turner has only made the playoffs twice in 10 seasons as a head coach, but he did advance to the AFC Championship with the Chargers last season.

And just like last year, the schedule gets easier for the Chargers down the stretch with five out of eight games at home.

The team certainly has a lot in its favor despite a 3-5 record … a weak division, a weaker schedule upcoming and a Nov. 9 home date against a pathetic Kansas City team following this week’s bye.

If this team can’t step up and make the playoffs at this point, then it’s time for Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith to step down.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A.J. Smith: "Genius" behind the Chargers

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio … or Shawne Merriman?

Just think: “Genius” General Manager A.J. Smith of the Chargers isn’t going to keep Merriman anyway when the All-Pro linebacker’s contract expires after 2009.

Put that down as another move equaling the “genius” strategy of getting rid of Drew Brees.

Who was that Brees guy throwing for 339 yards and 3 TDs as the New Orleans Saints beat the Chargers, 37-32, Sunday in London?

Seems like he wasn’t good enough for the Chargers to keep; but too good for the Chargers to stop.

And to think the Saints did it all without star running back/kick returner Reggie Bush.

Yes, A.J. sure looks like a “genius” for thinking the Chargers are just fine without Merriman, who is sitting out the season with a knee injury.

They didn’t lay a hand on Brees, which is the tradition without Merriman … not the exception.

We all know A.J. is a “genius” for getting rid of the likes of Brees, Marty Schottenheimer and Donnie Edwards (at least Schottenheimer could win during the regular season, and Edwards could intercept passes.)

Before Merriman departs after the 2009 season, who knows what other star will go first.

Too bad Smith is too stubborn to admit his mistakes. Otherwise, he’d be sending coach Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell packing today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Orleans Saints: No place like the road?

The NFL owes the New Orleans Saints a home game … or two.

Back in 2005, the Saints lost a home game because of Hurricane Katrina.

Their first scheduled home game was moved to Giants Stadium to face the New York Giants (with New Orleans designated as the home team.)

OK, so at that point; you’d think the NFL would owe the Saints a home game … and maybe the Giants a road game.

So what happens?

The Giants play the Miami Dolphins at London in 2007 with the Dolphins designated as the home team. Thus, the Giants don’t lose a home game … even though they were given an extra home game in 2005.

Now, the Saints are being designated as the “home” team in Sunday’s game against the Chargers in London. This means the Saints are losing another home game in New Orleans (this is not meant to say the Chargers should be deprived of a home game.)

Why do the Saints keep losing home games, but not the Giants?

It’s simple: Like all other sports leagues, the NFL is all about New York.

And that’s really too bad for the fine citizens of New Orleans.

Weekend predictions:
Chargers 23, Saints 20
Colorado State 38, San Diego State 17

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chargers: Looking a lot like 2005?

All of a sudden, this season is starting to look like 2005 all over again for the Chargers.

Back then, the Chargers were also a heavy favorite to win the AFC West.

Back then, they also started the season 0-2 before rallying to be 4-4 after eight games (which would be their record with a win Sunday vs. New Orleans in London.)

Back then, the Chargers had to play five games in the Eastern Time zone. (This year, it’s four on East Coast time and one in London.)

Yes, there are many similarities.

The 2005 Chargers did rally to win five straight at one point; extending their record to 8-4.

But they lost three of their final four to finish 9-7, the exception being at win at Indianapolis to snap the Colts’13-0 record.

So what’s the difference this year?

The Denver Broncos.

In 2005, the Broncos finished 13-3 and made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh.

The Broncos are 4-3 this season and will be lucky to finish .500.

So despite all the similarities in the Chargers to 2005, the biggest difference in the AFC West is the weakness of the Broncos.

And that may be enough for an average Chargers team to make the playoffs this season with an 8-8 or 9-7 record.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Who is the worst football team in San Diego?

Who is the most disappointing football team in San Diego?

Is it:

The Chargers, who may not even make the playoffs?

San Diego State, which may not win another game?

You can make a case for both.

The Chargers were supposed to be good enough to win the Super Bowl. At 3-4, they would be out of the race already in some divisions … luckily; they’re in the worst NFL division in the AFC West.

The Aztecs were at least supposed to be competitive this year. After a 70-7 loss at New Mexico last week, one must wonder if they have given up on the season … and will suffer the first 10-loss season in school history.

How bad is it?

People are now starting to write letters to the editor again, questioning if Norv Turner is back to his historic losing ways as a head coach.

Yet there’s so little interest in SDSU football that there’s not even a Web site to be found.

Both teams are beyond disappointing at this point. There will be great interest (or lack of) to see which team can snap out of the doldrums.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chargers must focus on Buffalo ... not London

Let’s get something straight.

The Chargers shouldn’t look at it as if they’re embarking on a 10-day trip this weekend.

View it as a three-day trip to Buffalo; then a seven-day trip to London to play the New Orleans Saints.

All over local radio and TV this week, you hear questions (from media) and answers (from Chargers) about the trip to London.

Hey, what about Buffalo?

The Bills so happen to lead the AFC East with a 4-1 record and they are coming off a bye.

The last time the Chargers played a team coming off a bye was two weeks ago in Miami.

Need you be reminded what happened then?

Forget about London for now. Concentrate on Buffalo.

Otherwise, a long trip will be made even longer by a loss to the upstart Bills.

Weekend predictions:
Bills 24, Chargers 20
New Mexico 38, San Diego State 13

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

San Diego Fox5 News Can't Catch a Break

This could have been an opportunity for endless promotions for the struggling San Diego Fox5 News.

Just think: A World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox would mean tons of viewers for Fox5 watching Manny Ramirez face his old team.

Then, Fox5 could promote the heck out of its glamour girls such as Kathleen Bade, Arthel Neville and Chrissy Russo from its bumbling news shows.

Well, bad news for the Dodgers and Red Sox could mean worse news for Fox5 … if the Dodgers and Red Sox don’t make the World Series; forget about high rankings for Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia.

And even more so in San Diego, forget about the multitude of viewers who could be inundated with Fox5 News promos during the World Series.

Low ratings would certainly be the order of the day for Rays-Phillies; just as low rankings now follow Fox5 news because it still isn’t up to par despite the babes.

The Dodgers and Red Sox could each come back from current 3-1 deficits, but it’s doubtful. After all, each team would have to win the final two games of its current series on the road even if either were to win a Game 5 at home.

The bad news for Fox nationally is that it probably isn’t going to get the Dodgers-Red Sox World Series that is so desires.

The worse news for Fox5 locally is that there won’t be nearly as many people viewing the countless teases of its female personalities.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chargers impressive win is a (coin) toss up

Josh Lewin, the outstanding radio play-by-play voice of the Chargers, made an interesting comment in his postgame analysis Sunday night.

Lewin said the key to the Chargers’ 30-10 whipping of New England may have been winning the coin toss before the game.

How true!

It marked the first time in six games that the Chargers have won the toss. The interesting question was whether to receive or defer till the second half.

Coach Norv Turner wisely chose to go on offense first.

By doing so, the normally slow-starting Chargers were able to put a dagger in the Patriots right off the bat.

A 48-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson on the first play from scrimmage got things going. From then on, the crowd was into the game.

It was 10-0 Chargers within 11 minutes; 17-3 Chargers by halftime.

If there was a lesson learned here, it was to take the ball first whenever winning the coin flip (and hope the other team defers if it wins the toss.)

For the first time this season, the Chargers truly looked like the Super Bowl team that multitudes have predicted.

Whether they make it to the Big Game is a toss up; let’s just hope they keep winning the coin toss!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Norv Turner: Back to his old head coaching tricks?

Lance McCune of Bonsall may come from a small community, but he made a major comment concerning the San Diego Chargers in the San Diego Union-Tribune this week:

“Memo to A.J. Smith: Looks like you kept the wrong Turner,” McCune wrote.

With Michael Turner leading the NFL in rushing for the upstart Atlanta Falcons, maybe the Chargers did indeed keep the wrong Turner.

After all, through five games, it appears as if head coach Norv Turner is back to his old tricks with a 2-3 record.

Turner, now in his 11th season as a head coach, has a career record of 71-90-1 (.441 winning percentage.)

He’s only been to the postseason twice, splitting two games as head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1999 and going 2-1 in the postseason with the 2007 Chargers.

Of course, he was brought here to win in the postseason. Previous Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer couldn’t win in the postseason if the game was handed to him on a platter.

Therein comes the next debate. At least Schottenheimer reached the playoffs, which is more than Turner has done 80% of the time as a head coach.

The Chargers are supposed to be Super Bowl-worthy this year. Thus far, it appears as if they are more than “worthy” of Turner’s losing record as a head coach.

They better turn things around soon, or else it will be obvious they got rid of the wrong Turner.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dodgers should be hooting, howling in NLCS

During Game 3 of the 1977 National League Championship Series (NLCS) in Philadelphia, the crowd noise caused Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Burt “Hoot Owl” Hooton to lose control.

He walked three consecutive batters, and couldn’t even make it out of the second inning.

Will the Phillies’ fans again get to the Dodgers when the 2008 NLCS begins Thursday?

Probably not.

There are three main reasons the Dodgers should win:

Joe Torre: He was criticized annually for not getting out of the first round with the New York Yankees. The Yankees didn’t even make the playoffs this year; Torre advanced to Round 2. Advantage: Torre.

Manny Ramirez: He stopped playing for the Boston Red Sox but can’t stop playing for the Dodgers. Don’t expect him to stop now. Advantage: Manny.

Greg Maddux. OK, he’s only 2-5 with the Dodgers. But do you see how the LA pitchers – especially the younger ones – immediately go to Maddux when they come out of a game?

The Dodgers’ fourth advantage is a somewhat healthy Rafael Furcal at shortstop. He may not be the .357 hitter he was before being injured in May, but his mere presence at the top of the batting order makes the Dodgers better.

NLCS: Advantage, Dodgers.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chargers: Where have you gone Michael Turner?

At some point, the Chargers need to re-evaluate their running back position.

How about now?

As the season has progressed, it’s becoming obvious that LaDainian Tomlinson is being more bothered by his injured toe than he is letting on.

He had 12 carries for just 35 yards in Sunday’s 17-10 stinker at Miami, being stopped from 1-yard out on fourth down when the Chargers could have tied the game.

Out of five games this season, Tomlinson has only had one above average performance; at Oakland. (And he always plays well there.)

On the other hand, Darren Sproles is emerging as the better back.

Consider the stats:

Tomlinson has 77 carries for 296 yards (3.8 average) and 4 TDs. He’s also caught 10 passes for 58 yards.

In a much more limited role, Sproles has 20 rushes for 106 yards (5.3 average.) He’s also caught 5 passes for 116 yards and 1 TD.

This is not to suggest that Sproles can be an every-down back. At 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds dripping wet, he can only take so much punishment.

The Chargers used to have an alternative named Michael Turner. All he has done is lead the NFL in rushing and boost the Atlanta Falcons to a surprising 3-2 record.

As Lance McCune of Bonsall said so well in a backhanded slap to coach Norv Turner of the 2-3 Chargers:

“Memo to A.J. Smith: Looks like you kept the wrong Turner.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chargers hope to revive Miami memories

If you’re old enough, you will definitely remember the last time that the Chargers won a game at Miami.

Who can forget that epic playoff game on Jan. 2, 1982 when the Chargers prevailed in overtime 41-38?

Remember the game-winning, 29-yard field goal by Rolf Benirschke 13:52 into overtime; remember the photos of an exhausted Kellen Winslow being helped off the field by two teammates.


What’s not so classic are recent performances by the Chargers, who have lost six straight to the Dolphins.

The most recent, a 23-21 loss in 2005, came at a time when the Chargers controlled their playoff destiny beforehand (but never did make the playoffs.)

Then two years previous, the Monday night game was moved to Phoenix because of massive wildfires in San Diego with the Dolphins winning, 26-10.

It’s a little different now with the Chargers being (somewhat) considered a powerhouse and the Dolphins a pushover … until their stunning upset of New England two weeks ago.

Miami has not won two straight since November 2006 … and it says here the streak will continue.

Weekend Predictions:
Chargers 24, Dolphins 17
Texas Christian 41, San Diego State 13

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Al Davis: The root of Raiders' evil

Sometimes, it’s interesting to know what the average fan is saying.

Last weekend, a visitor from Blythe, Calif., told me what the numerous Oakland Raiders’ fans in his hometown are thinking.

“They’re just waiting for Al Davis to die,” he said.

As cruel as that is, Raider fans have come to realize that the game has long-since passed Davis by. He may be able to outline “wrongdoings” by fired coach Lane Kiffin in an attempt not to pay Kiffin, but the evil starts with Davis.

(Can you imagine how long it would take for someone to outline Davis’ wrongs over the past six years; such as Davis did with Kiffin yesterday?)

To start with, Davis has had five coaches over the past six seasons. Kiffin has the second “winningest” percentage among them with his 5-15 record. (Would you believe the “best” Raiders coach during that time was Norv Turner at 9-23?)

Heck, new Raiders interim coach Tom Cable had a worse winning percentage at the University of Idaho than Kiffin did with the Raiders.

Perhaps Terrell Davis put it best on the NFL Network.

“I don’t think anybody in his right mind would want to coach the Raiders,” the former Denver Broncos star said.

Speaking of, Davis still owes current Broncos coach Mike Shanahan money from when Shanahan (like Kiffin) was supposedly fired with cause in the mid -1990s by Davis.

As Davis continues to seek what is ailing the Raiders, the best advice is for him to take a long, long look in the mirror.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New York teams say 'bye' to MLB playoffs

What’s the best storyline about the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs?

How about the fact that there are not any New York teams involved for the first time in more than a decade …

As much as the TV networks jam New York down our collective throats, it’s nice to see the playoffs commence with some truly compelling possibilities for smaller market teams.

What about:

Tampa Bay being in for the first time ever
Milwaukee being back for the first time since winning the World Series in 1982
The chance of Minnesota getting back in if it survives in the AL Central

Then the bigger markets:

The Chicago Cubs trying to win a World Series for the first time in 100 years
The Los Angeles Dodgers trying to win their second playoff GAME since a World Series title 20 years ago
Philadelphia looking for its first championship in 28 years
The Anaheim Angels shooting to win it all for the second time in six years
The Boston Red Sox attempting to make it three titles in five years

The happiest guy of all in the playoffs may be Manager Joe Torre of the Dodgers.

He’s taken so much criticism for the Yankees seemingly losing in the first-round each year lately. (Without him, the Yankees won’t face such a fate while looking from the outside in from the beginning.)

That coincides with the best news of all: No New York teams!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chargers' LT loves 'Raider Week'

If you’re looking for LaDainian Tomlinson to have his first breakout game of 2008 for the Chargers, this could very well be the week.

As former coach Marty Schottenheimer used to say: “It’s Raider Week.”

And few – if any – Charger players have performed better over the years against the hated Oakland Raiders than LT.

In fact, three of his top eight career rushing games came vs. Oakland:

Dec. 28, 2003: Career-high 243 yards
Oct. 14, 2007: Both 198 yards and four touchdowns
Sept. 28, 2003: Best game at Oakland with 187 yards

Based on this, we should find out this week if LT is just off to another slow start or hurt worse than some are letting on with his toe injury.

There are a couple of significant notes this week.

First of all, with a win, the Chargers will become the first team ever to beat the Raiders 10 straight times.

And most of all for Oakland, it will likely be the last game for head coach Lane Kiffin; who is expected to be fired the following week when the Raiders have a bye.

Either the Raiders will go all out for Kiffin this week, or they will just lie down because they are tired of interference from owner Al Davis.

Prediction: Chargers 38, Raiders 23
College prediction: San Diego State 31, Idaho 20

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Padres problem: Not the hitting coach!

Dave Magadan was fired as hitting coach of the Padres in June 2006.

Sixteen months later, he was hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series.

Merv Rettenmund replaced Magadan and was fired in July 2007.

He was long considered among the best hitting coaches in Major League Baseball.

Wally Joyner has just resigned as hitting coach of the Padres.

Does anybody see a pattern here?

Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the hitting coach. Gee, do you think that maybe the problem is the hitters … not the hitting coach … for the Padres?

Give somebody chicken salad and that’s what your final product will be. But give them chicken manure … and guess what that smells like?

How about the Padres hitting …

Certainly, Petco Park has been a hindrance to Padre hitters the last five years. But other teams play in expansive parks, and they don’t go through hitting coaches on an annual basis.

Rather than continue the merry-go-round on hitting coaches, isn’t it about time that the higher ups in the front office be held accountable?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chargers primed to beat Favre, Jets

Did you know Brett Favre is quarterback of the New York Jets now, lol.
You probably haven’t heard it more than 10,000 times on ESPN ... and 20,000 times elsewhere.

That being said, the new Mr. Jet (not to be confused with Joe Namath) brings his team to town for Monday Night Football against the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

So much seems to point in Favre’s favor:

He is 5-0 vs. the Chargers
He beat them in Week 3 last year in Green Bay (this happens to be Week 3)
He’s almost always at his best on Monday Night Football

Well, there is another way to look at this.
The Chargers are 0-2, playing in a nationally televised night game.

The last time that happened was in 2005, when Eli Manning and the New York Giants came to town.

Manning was booed unmercifully for his disparaging comments the year before about San Diego; the Chargers beat the Giants, 45-22.

Although Favre will receive a much warmer reception than Manning, the rest of this game smells a lot like 2005.

Prediction: Chargers 38, Jets 24

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Will Trevor Hoffman make Hall of Fame?

Is Trevor Hoffman destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Apparently, a lot of people in Los Angeles don’t think so.

During a Los Angeles Dodgers telecast on KCAL Channel 9 recently, viewers were asked whether they believed the Padres’ closer would make the Hall of Fame.

The responses:

Never: 38%
Eventually: 36%
First ballot: 26%

Even Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully said on the air that he was surprised by the low support for Hoffman.

After all, Hoffman is the all-time saves leader with 552. (But the man he passed, Lee Smith, still isn’t in the Hall of Fame.)

Normally, we could blame the oversight on Hoffman due to East Coast bias. But these were West Coast fans in the Los Angeles area.

It kind of makes you wonder just when ... or if ... Hoffman will get his due respect in the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mountain West is great ... minus S.D. State!

Jesse Palmer sure got it right during "College Football Live" on ESPN-TV this week.

Palmer said that the Mountain West Conference is clearly better than the Big East or Atlantic Coast conferences so far this season.

That being said, why do the Big East and ACC have automatic bids into the Bowl Championship Series ... but not the Mountain West?

Thus far, the Mountain West is 5-0 vs. the Pac-10. And if you think it has been weaklings of the Pac-10 vs. the best of the Mountain West, think again:

UNLV, which was picked to finish last in the Mountain West, beat No. 15 Arizona State in overtime last week.

BYU won 59-0 over a UCLA team that had upset Tennessee in its first game.

New Mexico, expected to be a middle-of-the-road team, downed Arizona.

TCU beat the same Stanford team that had upset Oregon State two weeks previous.

There is an exception in the Mountain West. It’s San Diego State (0-3), whose losses have included Cal Poly and San Jose State.

If SDSU one day drops football and leaves the Mountain West, the conference would be better off for it in football.

SDSU aside, the Mountain West certainly deserves to be there during the BCS competition this season!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Referee Ed Hochuli ... dumbest man in the NFL!

Referee Ed Hochuli clearly looks like the strongest referee in the NFL.

After Sunday, it’s safe to say he is all brawn and no brains.

Hochuli’s incompetent officiating clearly cost the San Diego Chargers a 39-38 loss at Denver.

All of America could plainly see Broncos’ quarterback Jay Cutler fumbled the ball away to San Diego in the game’s waning moments, which should have closed out a 38-31 win.

But Hochuli let his muscles get in the way of his vision by ruling it an incomplete pass and blowing his whistle; costing the Chargers the ball and blowing the game.

"That’s not acceptable," Chargers’ coach Norv Turner rightfully said more than once in the aftermath.

Oh, sure, the Chargers still could have held the Broncos from the 10 – or stopped a two-point conversion – to win the game a second time.

But once you’ve won the game, why have to win it a second time?

And what was with the instant replay not working in the first quarter?

All of America could see on TV replays that San Diego’s Chris Chambers was obviously down after catching a pass. Hochuli’s crew called it an interception, which was news to TV viewers but not the incompetency in the replay booth.

That was bad enough. Hochuli’s ridiculous call at the end was the worst thing some of us have since the Holy Roller 30 years ago by the Oakland Raiders.

There’s no excuse for Hochuli’s incompetency ... or the Chargers’ 0-2 start!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pittsburgh Steelers: Clubhouse leader in the AFC?

Let’s see now:

You can stick a fork in the New England Patriots without Tom Brady.

The Indianapolis Colts looked horrible against the Chicago Bears, even with Peyton Manning.

The San Diego Chargers will miss greatly Shawne Merriman on an already beleaguered defense.

The Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t even beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1.

So who does that leave as the early frontrunner in the AFC?

How about the Pittsburgh Steelers …

Few people are talking about the Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers; this less than three seasons after their Super Bowl victory.

But with all the “powerhouses” in the AFC falling around them, Pittsburgh could once again figure in the hunt at the end.

One week does not a season make … but it makes the once-dominating AFC seem like a weakened bunch in 2008.

Weekend Predictions:
Chargers 24, Denver 13
San Jose State 31, San Diego State 23

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Manny Ramirez sure energizes the Dodgers!

Does Manny Ramirez energize the Los Angeles Dodgers, or what?

His 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 37 games as a Dodger speak volumes.

But what he’s injected into younger players … specifically Andre Ethier … may be even more impressive than Manny’s personal numbers.

What has Ethier accomplished in the 12 games he’s been batting in front of Manny?

How about hitting .500 with eight doubles, two triples, 14 RBIs, nine walks and 15 runs scored …

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully put it quite succinctly on the most recent Dodgers telecast. He noted than when Ethier was asked why he was so hot, the answer was one word/name: “Manny.”

(Sorry, our apologies go out to Jeff Kent for such a statement!)

Manny is rubbing off on Ethier in other ways. For instance, Ethier was spotted in the Dodger dugout during their most recent victory wearing a Manny wig.

The Dodgers are having fun … Manny is leading the way.

It could be a tough combination to beat in October from a team that may win its division with barely a .500 record.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The line isn't good on the Chargers

Some of us still remember that old high school cheer, “Hold that line.”

In a nutshell, that’s exactly what’s wrong with the Chargers.

The reason they lost to Carolina, 26-24, on opening day Sunday was simple: The Panthers beat up the Chargers on both the offensive and defensive lines.

The Panthers averaged 4.9 yards per rush against a weakened Chargers defense, even without the benefit of a breakaway run to inflate the statistics.

And when the Chargers had the ball, they certainly weren’t as effective up front without injured center Nick Hardwick and tackle Marcus McNeill.

Also, we discovered that people who don’t play in the exhibition season because of nagging injuries aren’t going to be effective from the start.

How else do you explain Jamal Williams and Shawne Merriman only being in on two tackles apiece?

And even Antonio Gates, despite his late 24-yard touchdown reception, looked rusty as he still recovers from last season’s toe injury.

The Chargers need to make a quick recovery when they go to Denver this week, otherwise they will find themselves 0-2 in what is supposed to be a Super Bowl season.

The redeeming factor?

The AFC West is so weak that the Chargers could likely win it by going 8-8 or 9-7.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chargers should at least make it to Super Bowl

Injuries aside, and there are plenty of them, the Chargers should finally make it to the Super Bowl this season.

They have an incredibly weak schedule with six games against their own AFC West division, four against the AFC East and four vs. the NFC South.

Even when you throw in games against Pittsburgh and Indianapolis since the Chargers are playing a first-place schedule; this season has 12-4 or 13-3 written all over it for San Diego.

Here are division-by-division predictions:

AFC West
San Diego
Kansas City

AFC East
New England
New York Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC Wild Cards: Tennessee, Cleveland

NFC West
San Francisco
St. Louis

NFC East
New York Giants

NFC North
Green Bay

NFC South
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

NFC Wild Cards: Philadelphia, New Orleans

AFC Championship: San Diego (finally) over New England
NFC Championship: Dallas over Philadelphia
Super Bowl: Dallas over San Diego

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NL West has seen worse days than now

So you think the NL West is terrible this season?

Maybe so, but it’s not as weak as it was three years ago.

Consider the standings after Sept. 1, 2008; compared to what they were in 2005:

LA Dodgers
San Francisco
San Diego

San Diego
LA Dodgers
San Francisco

As you can see, at least there’s a “race” to the finish this season (which is more than happened in 2005.)

But this time, the Padres aren’t going to win it. And same as last time, nobody deserves to win … but somebody has to!

(* Thanks so much to David A. West of Biola University for information used in this blog.)