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NFL Arizona Cardinals

San Diego Chargers will have to dig down deep to get pressure on quarterbacks in these games

The San Diego Chargers have seven games in 2012 against teams that ranked in the top 10 for fewest sacks allowed during the 2011 season. San Diego will open the season with a road game against the Oakland Raiders. Oakland’s offensive line allowed the fourth fewest sacks in the NFL with 25 last season.  San Diego will also finish the regular season with a home game against them.  The Chargers will have their home opener in week two against the Tennessee Titans who allowed 24 sacks last season.

San Diego’s week three game will be against the Atlanta Falcons in San Diego.  The Falcons gave up 26 sacks last season, which ranked sixth in that category.  San Diego’s prime time Sunday night game in week five against former Charger Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints could be an old fashioned shoot out.  New Orleans’ offensive line only surrendered 24 sacks last season, which was second in the league. San Diego’s week 10 road battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be against a team that allowed the 10th fewest sacks. Even though the offensive line did their job, Josh Freeman was second in the NFL with 22 interceptions in 15 games. San Diego’s week 13 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals will see them face an offensive line that allowed only 25 sacks last season.

Oakland’s quarterbacks combined for 20 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, while Tampa Bay’s QBs had 17 and 24 in these categories.  I expect veteran Carson Palmer to play better, but he did have 20 interceptions during a full season with the Bengals in 2010 despite Cincinnati’s offensive line allowing the eighth fewest sacks.

The Chargers had trouble putting pressure on quarterbacks last season.  They were tied for 23rd with 32 team sacks in 2011.  The Lightning Bolts only had seven sacks in 2011 when they sent five or more rushers, which was 30th out of 32 teams.  San Diego added first round pick Melvin Ingram, and Shaun Phillips had at least seven sacks every season from 2005-2010, so maybe he will return to form in 2012 because he missed four games with an injury in 2011.  Antwan Barnes was tied for 11th in the NFL with 11 sacks last season, so hopefully he will bring similar production to the table in 2012.