San Diego Chargers
13-3 (8-7-1 ATS), 1st Place AFC West in 2009
Is there anyone in the AFC West that can stop the San Diego Chargers from walking away with yet another division title in 2010? After a romp to 13-3 last year and a berth in the second round of the AFC playoffs, the Chargers have to be feeling fine. However, the measure of success for the Bolts is the Super Bowl, and they haven't been there yet in the Norv Turner era. HC Marty Schottenheimer was canned for similar. Could this be the beginning of the end of Turner as the man in charge for the Chargers?
2010 Draft: It cost San Diego some picks, but the Chargers moved up in the first round of the draft to snare RB Ryan Mathews out of Fresno State. The good news for the Bolts is that they add some much needed depth to their running back crop, but the bad news is that we aren't so sure where the touches are coming from in this offense. Mathews figures to average at least 15 carries per game. Where does that leave incumbent RB Darren Sproles and the potent passing attack for San Diego? We'll have to wait and see how Turner handles this situation.
Offensive Outlook: We have already discussed the rushing attack, but it is the passing game that really has drawn our attention for this season. QB Philip Rivers might be in that Peyton Manning/Tom Brady class of quarterback nowadays as much as that makes us cringe. But look at the numbers. Rivers led the #5 passing attack in the pros last year at 271.1 yards per game, and he generated the majority of the 28.4 points that the Bolts put on the board on the average game. TE Antonio Gates and WR Vincent Jackson both had Pro Bowl caliber seasons, as each reached 1,100+ yards through the air. That all doesn't happen without a quarterback that doesn't know what he's doing. Rivers is the real deal, and this offense is fantastic.
Defensive Outlook: Losing DB Antonio Cromartie to the Jets could be a big loss for a team that looked suspect at times in '09. One has to wonder whether the four sacks that LB Shawne Merriman accounted for last season was a fluke of a down year or whether this is the production that the Bolts can expect to get from him for the foreseeable future. Not a lot else changed for the Chargers from last year to this year, so we are expecting at best, comparable numbers to the 327.0 yards and 20.0 points per game that the unit gave up in 2009.
2010 Betting Outlook: The oddsmakers know just how much better the Chargers are than the rest of this division, and it is going to probably prove costly at some point over the course of the year. San Diego doesn't really have a knack for blowing teams out of the water, as only four games all season long (including the playoffs) were separated by at least two touchdowns. Facing spreads of -11 and -12 seems inevitable, particularly at home, and that's where the NFL odds could really catch up with you if you plan on backing the Bolts on a regular basis.
All Odds for 2010 NFL betting season can be found at Diamond Sportsbook. San Diego Chargers Predictions: 13-3, 1st Place in AFC West 2010 San Diego Chargers Schedule
San Diego Chargers Odds To Win AFC West: -300
San Diego Chargers Odds To Win AFC: +550
San Diego Chargers Odds To Win Super Bowl XLV: +1000
San Diego Chargers Regular Season Win Total: 11 over +120
The schedule is incredibly weak this year, which is why the Chargers have the highest over/under of any team in the NFL and why they are the biggest favorites on the board to win their respective division. The issue isn't going to be getting to the playoffs, as that should be a given. The question is going to be what happens when San Diego get there. That's a different question for a different time, though. The Chargers are a team to back in all of their futures wagering odds.
Week 1 - Away @ Chiefs
Week 2 - Home vs. Jaguars
Week 3 - Away @ Seahawks
Week 4 - Home vs. Cardinals
Week 5 - Away @ Raiders
Week 6 - Away @ Rams
Week 7 - Home vs. Patriots
Week 8 - Home vs. Titans
Week 9 - Away @ Texans
Week 10 - Bye
Week 11 - Home vs. Broncos
Week 12 - Away @ Colts
Week 13 - Home vs. Raiders
Week 14 - Home vs. Chiefs
Week 15 - Home vs. 49ers
Week 16 - Away @ Bengals
Week 17 - Away @ Broncos
San Diego Chargers Predictions: 13-3, 1st Place in AFC West
2010 San Diego Chargers Schedule