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By Thomas Nielsen     

Last year, the San Diego Chargers finished the season 9-7 and won the second wild card spot. Led by quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego went into Cincinnati and won 27-10. But the Bolts lost in the Divisional round to the Denver Broncos by a touchdown. During the regular season, the Chargers and Broncos split the series with each team winning on the road. Last year was Mike McCoy’s first season as head coach. Prior to taking the job, he was the Broncos offensive coordinator. McCoy looked like a genius last year. Rivers, who has always been known as a good quarterback, started to take strides showing his age, but his career has been revitalized under the new coach.
     This year started off with the Chargers taking on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards had a very underrated season. They finished 10-6 but did not earn a playoff spot. Arizona came into the season with a chip on their shoulder and a plan to contend in one of the hardest divisions in the league. Quarterback Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including one in the final minutes, to secure an 18-17 victory. So, Rivers and Chargers started out on the wrong foot. This was probably the only close game San Diego has played in.
     The next was an important week for this team. They were taking on the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. Luckily for SD, this game was at home, which gave them a great advantage over their opponent. The Chargers knew that it would be a death wish to start the season 0-2.  Rivers put the team on his back and finished the game with 28 completions on 37 (75%), 284 yards, and three touchdown passes (all three going to future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates). The Chargers won the game 30-21. This game finally put San Diego on the radar and yet, they don’t seem to get the praise they deserve.

     Week three, the Chargers traveled up to Buffalo to take on the Bills. Although we tend to discount Buffalo they started off the year well. Buffalo was the surprise of week one, beating the Chicago Bears in overtime. The next week, the Bills defeated divisional foe Miami. That Miami team has played very well including a win against the Patriots. So, the Bills looked like a very good team. But when they went up against San Diego, they looked lost at points. The defense, normally very good, could not get pressure on Philip Rivers. Rivers threw two touchdown passes.
     The next two weeks for the Chargers could not have gone better even in their dreams. San Diego played against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets. Neither of these games were close whatsoever. The Jags and Jets are now a total of 1-9. The combined score of the two games were San Diego 64, opponents 14. Rivers threw for six touchdowns, one interception, and 655 yards. Every aspect of the team looked great. But then again, if a team doesn’t look great against the Jaguars or Jets, they must really be bad.


The Chargers will have a bye during Week 10. They will go through a critical stretch leading up to that. Their next four games are at Oakland, home against Kansas City, away at Denver and then at Miami. The game against the Raiders should be a cakewalk. The Raiders have looked like the Bad News Bears. I don’t think they’ve done anything correct. The Chiefs are one of the most confusing teams in the league. They are 2-3. Their two wins are against Miami and New England (the game against NE was a blowout and an embarrassment). Their losses have come against Tennessee, Denver and San Francisco. Kansas City has played extremely well and also extremely poor at times. This game will realistically be close, but it will depend which Chiefs team decides to show up. The next week is at Denver. This game will truly be a test for San Diego. If they can win this game, they will finally get everyone’s attention. And even if they lose but keep the game close, the Chargers will get the credit they deserve. The San Diego Chargers’ final game before the bye week will be against the Dolphins. The Dolphins, like KC, has played very well but also very poorly at times during the season. This game will probably be tough but not too bad. Realistically, it seems like the Chargers could go through this four game stretch with a 3-1 record. I wouldn’t be shocked if the go undefeated though.
     The San Diego Chargers are currently 4-1 and in first place of the AFC West for one reason: Philip Rivers. He has been the best quarterback in the NFL. So far, five games into the season, he leads the NFL in pass rating, which is 116.3. Rivers has the best QBR in the league at 84.8. He has the best completion percentage at 70.3. Rivers is also in 4th passing yards with 1,443 and tied for 2nd in touchdown passes with 12. Probably the most important stat for Philip Rivers is that he has only thrown two interceptions last year. Over the previous four seasons, he has averaged 15 interceptions a season. He is currently on pace for only 6 interceptions! Rivers has continued to get better. This Chargers team will go as far as Rivers leads them. Through five games, Philip Rivers is without a doubt the MVP. Let’s see what he’ll do the rest of the season.