The San Diego Chargers have eight games in 2012 against teams that finished the 2011 NFL season with a winning record and or made the playoffs. This will start with home games in week two and three against the Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons. Tennessee finished 2011 with a 9-7 record while Atlanta was 10-6, and both teams were a respectable 4-4 on the road. San Diego will have a Sunday Night Football game in week five against the New Orleans Saints. This game will take place in New Orleans where the Saints were 8-0 last season.
San Diego has a week six home game and a week 11 road battle against the defending AFC West champion Denver Broncos whom San Diego was 1-1 against last season. Although both teams finished their 2011 season at 8-8, Denver added one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning. It will be interesting to see how Manning plays after numerous surgeries on his neck, which caused him to miss the entire 2011 season. San Diego’s toughest stretch of the season should come in weeks 12-14. They will start of in weeks 12 and 13 with home games against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore finished the 2011 season at 12-4 while Cincinnati was 9-7. Baltimore was 4-4 on the road while Cincinnati was 5-3 away from home. San Diego dominated the Ravens 34-14 last season in San Diego, but I expect the outcome to be closer this season. San Diego will face the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in week 14. The Steelers were 7-1 at home in 2011.
San Diego finished their 2011 season with a 5-3 home record and a 3-5 road record. San Diego did not have a great road record, but if they can reassert their dominance at home, the team can live with it. The Chargers were 8-0 at home in 2006, 7-1 in 2007, 6-2 in 2009 and 6-2 in 2010. San Diego started off the 2010 season with a 2-5 overall record and finished the season at 9-7 which was one win away from making the playoffs. The Chargers lost their division last year based on a tiebreaker after they started the season 4-1 and finished at 8-8. The Chargers finished their 2006 season on a 10 game winning streak, but lost their only playoff game. They also finished 2009 on an 11 game winning streak, but lost their only playoff game. San Diego needs to avoid their proverbial nap in 2012 to make the playoffs and do damage if they get in.