Bengals News

2013 NFL Preview: AFC West

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Aug 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers

2012 Record: 7-9; 2nd Place

2013 Prediction: 6-10

Confidence in Pick: 20%

Losses: Melvin Ingram (ACL), Norv Turner

Pickups: Danny Woodhead, Dwight Freeney, Mike McCoy, Max Starks, DJ Fluker, Mantei Teo, Keenan Allen

Reasons for Optimism:

Improved OL – By no means is Max Starks a great LT and DJ Fluker is a rookie, but they have to be better than what the Chargers had. In 2012, Rivers was sacked 49 times! That is way to many if you want to win….or keep your QB alive.

Phillip Rivers – It wasn’t long ago he was in the “elite” QB discussion. He has 4 years of 4,000+ yards and has thrown for 3,500+ in 7 of his last 8 seasons. He has thrown 21+ TDs in each of his last 8 years, has two 30+ TD seasons, and has averaged 29 TDs over the past 5 years.

Those are good numbers. Unfortunately, the OL has had issues protecting him recently – 117 sacks over the last 3 years (39 per year, including 49 in 2012). As a result, Rivers turnovers have increased and his rating decreased as the sacks pile up. If they can protect Rivers, he can get back to that “elite” level QB.

Ryan Mathews – Mathews has never been able to stay healthy, however, if he can, he still has the ability to be a quality RB.