The San Diego Chargers have five games in 2012 against teams who finished in the top 10 for fewest yards allowed per play in 2011. San Diego has a road game against the Cleveland Browns in week eight. Cleveland allowed 5.1 yards per play in 2011 which ranked ninth in the NFL.
In week 12, San Diego has a home game against the Baltimore Ravens who ranked second in the NFL allowing just 4.6 yards per play. The Chargers beat Baltimore 34-14 during the 2011 season, but I expect a more competitive game this year.
Baltimore could be missing the NFL’s 2011 Defensive Player of the Year because Terrell Suggs tore his achilles tendon. Suggs said that he expects to be back by November and the game takes place on November 25, 2012, but some medical experts believe that Suggs will miss the 2012 season.
The San Diego Chargers have a home game in week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati allowed 5.0 yards per play in 2011 which ranked fourth in the league.
San Diego has a week 14 game against the NFL’s stingiest defense in 2011 when they play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers allowed an NFL low 4.5 yards per play during the 2011 season.
San Diego will play the New York Jets on the road in a week 16 battle. New York allowed 5.0 yards per play during the 2011 season. The Lightning Bolts lost 27-21 last season in a road game against New York.
San Diego has more than a puncher’s chance in these games though because they ranked fifth in points per game and sixth in yards per play on offense. Vincent Jackson led San Diego in receiving yards and touchdown receptions in 2011, but Jackson missed 11 games in 2010 when San Diego ranked first in yards per play and second in points per game.
San Diego has one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Philip Rivers. Rivers and Drew Brees were the only quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards from 2008-2011 while Rivers averaged 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions per season during this time.