2013 San Diego Chargers NFL Team Preview2012 Wins: 7
Super Bowl Odds: +5700
Betting Odds from 5dimes.com
The 2012 Chargers manage to win seven games, but the team believes that they can up that from last year, and the fact that they’re coming in with a new head coach and a new GM has the team believing in a new image that can transform their fate in the AFC West.
Many prognosticators are choosing both the Broncos and Chiefs to finish with better records in the division, but GM Tom Telesco remains fixed in the belief that the team can rejuvenate itself without a new QB. Philip Rivers will still call the shots, and the team rebuild the offensive line, which should give Rivers more time in the pocket and cut down on his picks.
In addition to the line, they have a running back who can lay down the blocks now, too. Ryan Mathews must stay healthy though, because his two broken clavicles so far have put the layer on the disappointment cake. He has just 14 TDs in 38 games and has yet to rush for more than 1,100 yards, but his talent has the Chargers believing they can get more out of him. He has also fumbled a lot, and that raises warning flags for a team trying to cut down on turnovers.
Rivers may still be the key though. He led the NFL in passer rating (103.8) in 2008-10, and his 35 picks last year were very uncharacteristic. Is it age? Possibly. But the fall off happened too quick, and the belief has to be that a better group around him will return some of his former glory. He has a strong arm and can execute tough plays, which keeps his value high to NFL teams.
While he may have declined some, he’s still a notch above the majority of NFL QBs in terms of talent alone. The only QB backing him up is Charlie Whitehurst, and then 2013 draft pick Brad Sorenson (rd. 7). If Rivers goes down, the Chargers are in a world of trouble.
The Chargers are hoping to get a lot more out of Robert Meachem. He just signed a 4-year $25.5 million contract with $14 million guaranteed last season. And despite that $14 mil, he had just 14 receptions. That’s a million per catch. That doesn’t seem like good value, and the Chargers don’t want to make fools of themselves any longer.
Getting Rivers and Meachem on the same page could turn the offense around, and Malcom Floyd has to be big too. Floyd had 800-plus yards last season and five TDs, but his great year was offset by the craptacular performance of future HOFer Antonio Gates. Gates still has his highlights, but he’s clearly on the very tail end of what was a rather impressive prime.
So, the Chargers have a few great players, but all are regressing. Rivers and Gates may make some nice highlights to give Chargers fans unrealistic hopes, but the “change will change it” attitude is as simple as it seems, from a team who still won less than half their games last season.
Mathews’ health could make the team a fringe playoff team, but the hopes of anything more are hinging on the unrealistic cloud that Rivers returns to the form he was in three seasons ago. Turning back the clock is something we see on a play-by-play basis, and the Chargers are hoping for a full season of it. They’ve won 10 games or less in four of the last five seasons, and this season will likely bring the same result.
Be sure to check out Maddux’s picks for this NFL season, as we line our bettors pockets once again in big fashion.