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2009 Chargers Record Predictions – Part 1

Well it’s that time of year.  The final roster cuts are coming this weekend and teams are gearing up for their week one opponent.  Every team in the NFL is tied for first place.  I took a look at the upcoming Charger games for this season and here is how I see it playing out.  Not scientific at all, just what my gut tells me will happen.  Let’s begin…

Week 1
Chargers Record (0-0-0)
SD Chargers @ Oakland Raiders

The San Diego Chargers currently have an 11 game win streak against the Raiders, and by all indications that number should go to 12 after this game.  I think Ladainian Tomlinson starts out the season strong by rushing for over 100 yards and Philip Rivers throws for about 270 yards & 2 TD.  The Raiders are just not ready to compete with the Chargers

Score Prediction:
Chargers 27 – Raiders 16

Week 2
Chargers Record (1-0-0)
Baltimore Ravens @ SD Chargers

This game is going to be won and lost in the trenches.  The San Diego defense shows it is much improved over last year and Baltimore shows they still know how to put pressure on an offense, but in the end, the Chargers offensive weapons lead by Rivers ball control and Joe Flacco suffering from the sophomore slump will lead the Chargers to victory.  Both Sproles and Tomlinson score rushing TD’s as well as Rivers sneaking one in on a quarterback keeper.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 31 – Ravens 17

Week 3
Chargers Record (2-0-0)
Miami Dolphins @ SD Chargers

Payback time.  Last year the Dolphins beat the Chargers 17-10.  The Chargers offense was mostly ineffective and the Wildcat was new and made the Chargers look old.  It’s a new year – Chris Chambers scores a touchdown against his old team and LT scores for the third game in a row.  Cromartie grabs 2 interceptions and Merriman sacks Pennington twice in this game.  Once again the defense continues to show it’s a new year and that they are prepared week after week under coach Ron Rivera.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 24 – Dolphins 10

Week 4
Chargers Record (3-0-0)
SD Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Last November when the Chargers played the Steelers, the weather was terrible and the Chargers went to 0-13 in Pittsburgh during the regular season.  Well I’m afraid it’s going to 0-14 this year.  The Steelers play so well in front of their home crowd and although the Chargers will show they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Steelers, they will fall once again in the steel city.  Rothlisberger will be very efficient as usual and their ground game will be the deciding factor in the end.

Score Prediction:
Steelers 19 – Chargers 16

So the Chargers wrap up the first quarter of the season with a record of 3-1 and they sit atop the AFC West as most people are predicting.  The defense has shown a big improvement over last year and offense is really putting on a show.  The Chargers now go into their BYE week and they prepare to take on division opponents in 3 of their next 4 games.

Week 5

BYE

Week 6
Chargers Record (3-1-0)
Denver Broncos @ SD Chargers

I really think this game is going to be ugly if you are a Bronco fan.  Kyle Orton is no Jay Cutler and will get picked off twice.  The defense will also sack Orton 3 times.  The Charger offense will really shine with rushing touchdowns by Tomlinson, Sproles and even Hester.  Chambers will add a receiving TD on the way to a decisive victory.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 34 – Broncos 7

Week 7
Chargers Record (4-1-0)
SD Chargers @ KC Chiefs

Another AFC West opponent that just isn’t ready to compete with the Chargers.  New Coach, new quarterback but same result.  Cassel is efficient but just does not have the targets to throw to and Larry Johnson learns that the Chargers are more than ready stop the run.  Rivers favorite targets this game will be Tomlinson and Sproles; screen passes that just keep working and they both score plus Malcom Floyd makes some big catches on the way to 2 TDs.  The Chargers take control early in this game and never give it up.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 36 – Chiefs 17

Week 8
Chargers Record (5-1-0)
Oakland Raiders @ SD Chargers

The Raiders come to town hoping to avenge their week 1 loss.  This game is close all day, closer than most people think it will be.  Garcia has taken over as the starting QB and is very efficient.  Both teams seem to be evenly matched on offense, at least for today.  The Raiders came in fired up and the Charger defense quite frankly took the Raiders too lightly.  But Ron Rivera will get them snapped back into shape at halftime and the Chargers will pull out a close one.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 24 – Raiders 21

Week 9
Chargers Record (6-1-0)
SD Chargers @ NY Giants

Here we go – Philip Rivers vs. Eli Manning.  Rivers throws for twice as many yards as Manning but the Giants defense came to play; intercepting Rivers twice in this game.  The Chargers are able to rack up yards in the air but the run game just cannot penetrate the Giants defensive line.  The Giants control the clock by running the ball over and over and wearing out the Chargers defense.  Kaeding could have sent the game into overtime, but he missed a last second 48 yard field goal attempt.

Score Prediction:
Giants 27 – Chargers 24

The Chargers now come to the midpoint of their season and their record of 6-2 is much improved over last year’s record of 3-5.  But even though things look much better, they have played 4 of their first 8 games against AFC West teams, by far the weakest division in the NFL.  With losses to both the Steelers and Giants, is this really the year that  the Chargers finally take that next step and march, no limp, their way into the post season?  We will investigate that next.

2009 Chargers Record Predictions – Part 2
Let’s continue on with the predictions for the second half of the season

Week 10
Chargers Record (6-2-0)
Philadelphia Eagles @ SD Chargers

McNabb and Westbrook vs. Rivers and Tomlinson.  This battle is evenly matched.  Both running backs will score once and both quarterbacks will have solid passing numbers.  But the defense of the Eagles, minus Dawkins, will not have an answer for the big receivers of the Chargers and a missed field goal by David Akers will prove to be the difference in the final score.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 23 – Eagles 22

Week 11
Chargers Record (7-2-0)
SD Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Unlike last year, this meeting between the Broncos and Chargers will not decide the AFC West.  The Chargers have the Division well in hand and this game as well.  Although the Denver fans still hate Rivers, he puts up great numbers in the thin air of Mile High Stadium and the Chargers complete the season sweep of the Broncos.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 27 – Broncos 17

Week 12
Chargers Record (8-2-0)
KC Chiefs @ SD Chargers

The Chiefs did not play well against the Chargers in Kansas City and it’s going to get much worse in San Diego.  Tomlinson and Sproles both run for touchdowns and Sproles lights up the Chiefs defense with the screen pass scoring twice more as a receiver.  The defense of the Chargers hurries Cassel all day and sacks by Tucker and Castillo rattle the Chiefs quarterback.  Chargers take this one very easily.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 30 – Chiefs 6

Week 13
Chargers Record (9-2-0)
Cleveland Browns @ SD Chargers

Unfortunately for the Browns, the Chargers are hot and Cleveland is not.  Rivers has lots of time in the pocket and gets it done again with great passing yards and Tomlinson and Sproles run for a combined 3 TD’s.  The Charger defense knocks down Quinn twice and both Cason and Applewhite pick him off.  Chargers win again on the road.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 31 – Browns 10

Well with 75% of the games played this season, the Chargers are sitting with an impressive record of 10-2; two more victories than they had all last season.  They have already clinched the AFC West and thus guaranteed themselves a playoff spot.  But there are still 4 games to play and more work to do in order to finish the season strong and get ready for the post season.

Week 14
Chargers Record (10-2-0)
SD Chargers @ Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys have had a terrible winning percentage in December with Tony Romo as their quarterback and with all the weapons the Chargers have at their disposal, they should take this game easily – but nobody told the Cowboys that.  Romo lights up the Chargers defense and the Chargers offensive never really gets going.  Jason Witten, Romo’s favorite target, scores twice and Jones and Barber both run in for touchdowns.  This is the Chargers wake up call.

Score Prediction:
Cowboys 31 – Chargers 17

Week 15
Chargers Record (10-3-0)
Cincinnati Bengals @ SD Chargers

Coming off the loss to the Cowboys, the Chargers need get back to their winning ways and what better way to do just that than to have the Bengals come to town.  But this game ends up being much closer than it is supposed to be.  Carson Palmer has a solid performance and although Rivers passes for almost 300 yards, he is picked off twice in this game.  Because the Bengals missed an extra point in the first quarter, this game comes down to a 45 yard field goal in the closing seconds and Kaeding splits the uprights to pull out the victory.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 20 – Bengals 19

Week 16
Chargers Record (11-3-0)
SD Chargers @ Tennessee Titans

It’s Christmas Day in cold wet Tennessee, not exactly what the Chargers are used to.  But this game ends up being a great present for San Diego fans.  Kerry Collins is showing his age and the Chargers defense gets to him early and often, creating one fumble and one interception.  Titan fans are amazed that neither Chris Johnson nor LenDale White can get into the end zone and Tomlinson puts an exclamation point on the fact that he is not at all washed up, scoring twice.  The National audience sees that the Chargers are definitely for real and that they are charging into the post season.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 27 – Titans 13

Week 17
Chargers Record (12-3-0)
Washington Redskins @ SD Chargers

The Chargers have wrapped up home field advantage for the playoffs and many starters rest the second half of this game.  Although the Chargers only score 3 points after the second quarter, they still win this one.  Cason and Cromartie both intercept Jason Campbell and to add insult to injury both Merriman and Castillo record sacks.  Gates and Sproles, though playing only 2 series both receive touchdown passes from Rivers and Hester scores from the goal line.

Score Prediction:
Chargers 21 – Redskins 16

So that’s it.  That’s how I see it.  The Chargers end the regular season with a record of 13-3 and enter the post season with high expectations.  The team is healthy, Ron Rivera has the Defense ranked in the top 5 in the NFL and the Chargers have shown the rest of the NFL that they just have too many weapons on offense.  The Chargers have home field advantage throughout the playoffs thus limiting travel and keeping them fresh.  But Charger fans have been here before, high expectations from an impressive regular season only to see their team falter in the playoffs.  Is this year going to be different?  Is this the year the Chargers finally bring the Super Bowl trophy back to San Diego?  Only time will tell.  But one thing is for sure.  Right now, at the end of the preseason, the Chargers look like a team that has what it takes to win it all.  All the pieces seem to be in place.  With a little luck and a lot of determination, this could be the year that Charger fans have long been waiting for.


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