San Diego Chargers 2009 Preview
It’s pretty rare that a football odds maker would make a team that finished 8-8 an overwhelming favorite to win a division, but that’s exactly what the San Diego Chargers are. While other teams in the AFC West are in rebuilding mode, the Chargers are as healthy as they’ve been in a while. Philip Rivers isn’t worried about his knee, Antonio Gates isn’t worried about his toe, and Nick Hardwick isn’t concerned about his foot.
The lone notable loss for the San Diego Chargers was stalwart defensive end Igor Olshansky, who didn’t exactly make or break this team’s Super Bowl odds.
On the other hand, it’s not exactly like the Chargers made a lot of notable acquisitions. They helped out their linebacking corps, which clearly lacked depth last year, by signing Kevin Burnett and drafting Larry English in the first round.
The Chargers were carried by Philip Rivers last year, which makes this unit a scary scoring threat if LaDainian Tomlinson can regain – or get close to – his previous MVP form. For a second consecutive year Tomlinson’s season was ended by a serious injury, but he appears to be over his groin pains.
The Chargers had the second-ranked scoring offense last year (27.4 points per game) and with a healthy Rivers, Tomlinson, and Gates, that average should remain close.
While offense wasn’t the issue in San Diego last year, defense was. Again, this team should be stronger as one of their key stars, Shawne Merriman, returns from injury and returns to the lineup.
Sportsbook bettors know how much of a difference one player can make, and Merriman is that type. Along with the addition of English, the team’s first-round pick, the Chargers should be able to get to the quarterback with more frequency.
After the Chargers ranked second in the AFC with 42 sacks in 2007, they dropped to just 28 last year, which had a ripple effect throughout the entire unit. They forced less turnovers and gave up more points. That should revert back to 2007 now that Merriman and English are on board.
Football wagering fans can expect the Chargers to win the AFC West – that’s pretty much a given. But the real goal for the Chargers is to win a title, and a lot of people still question whether they can do it with Norv Turner at the helm. The Chargers are as loaded as they have been since they finished 14-2 under Marty Schottenheimer, and if Turner can’t get this team to the Super Bowl, he’ll likely find himself looking for work – like Schottenheimer.