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Today: The San Diego Chargers
Last Year: 9-7 (3rd place in AFC West, lost in Divisional Round)
You got to hand it to the San Diego Chargers. One way or another, they’ll find a way to lose in the postseason. It doesn’t really matter if they enter the playoffs as the favorite to win it all or if they enter the playoffs as a 9-7 Wild Card team, which they were last season. Regardless of the circumstances, the Chargers aren’t going to do all too well in the postseason. Such was the case in 2013.
The Chargers had a bit of a strange year. Entering week 14, just the possibility of losing in the postseason was at best a long shot. Coming off a seven-point loss at the hands of the Bengals, San Diego’s record was a measly 5-7. But in the team’s final four games, it knocked off the Giants (no big deal), the Broncos (BIG deal), the Raiders (no big deal), and the Chiefs (BIG deal, but also super lucky). And the Chargers made the playoffs.
Of course, their season ended soon after. By now, beating the Bengals in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs isn’t really a challenge. Someone has to do it, and the Chargers were lucky enough to have that honor bestowed up them. The next week, however, involved a trip to Denver and before they could blink, the Chargers were trailing 17-0 in the fourth quarter. Despite nearly coming back, in typical Chargers fashion, the team came up a touchdown short. Season over.
But like I said, you got to hand it to the Chargers. In the offseason, some members of the team formed a softball team and joined a rec league. And, sure enough, the Chargers’ softball team lost in the first round of the playoffs.
The San Diego Chargers, everybody. Nobody gets more excited about a regular season win than the Chargers.
Last Year’s Stud: Philip Rivers
Rivers passed for 4478 yards, 32 touchdowns, and added 38 more kids to his family of 98.
Runner-up: Keenan Allen
Last Year’s Surprise: Keenan Allen
Because I go to school at Cal, I had the luxury of knowing that Keenan Allen was going to be a lot better than most third-round draft picks. Sure enough, Allen had 71 catches, 1,046 yards, and eight touchdowns.
Runner-up: Danny Woodhead (76 receptions)
Last Year’s Disappointment: Kendall Reyes
The former second round selection managed to bring in five sacks, but finished with a -22.3 score from Pro Football Focus, easily the lowest score on the Chargers’ defense.
Runner-up: Manti Te’o
The Chargers selected an injured cornerback who is 5-foot-9 with their first pick. I’m not sold on the pick, as you can probably tell. I think there’s a chance Jason Verrett doesn’t end up being more than a solid slot corner.
Other notable pick: Jeremiah Attaochu
This Year’s Stud: Keenan Allen
The Chargers have a legit No. 1 receiver, and they only had to use a third-round pick to land him.
Runner-up: Philip Rivers
This Year’s Surprise: Donald Brown
I know that Ryan Mathews is supposed to be getting the bulk of the carries this season and that Donald Brown will most likely be asked to do a whole lot of pass protecting. But Brown is a more than capable back — he averaged north of five yards per carry last season. And if Mathews struggles at any point or gets hurt, I’d expect Brown to do just fine filling in.
Runner-up: Jeremiah Attaochu
This Year’s Disappointment: Jason Verrett
His size (5-foot-9) and durability worries me.
Runner-up: Antonio Gates
Draft early: Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen
Good value in the middle rounds: Ryan Mathews
Don’t draft: Antonio Gates, Defense
What Vegas Is Saying (LVH Sports Book): 8 wins
What We’re Saying: 10-6 (2nd place in AFC West)
Consider me all in on the San Diego Chargers — for the regular season at least. I don’t think this team is good enough to unseat the Broncos in the AFC West, but I think there’s a chance it might end up being the third best team in the conference (I have the Patriots ahead of the Chargers). Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen are going to give opposing defenses nightmares and the defense is good enough to limit 30-point games.
However, because the AFC is most likely going to go through Denver or New England, I just don’t see the Super Bowl in the cards for the Chargers. But hey, by now the Chargers have to be used to that.
[genericon icon=twitter] Follow Sean Wagner-McGough on Twitter @seanjwagner