Five toughest games for the San Diego Chargers in 2012
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers have eight games against teams in 2012 that finished the 2011 season with a winning record and or made the playoffs. San Diego had trouble applying pressure on quarterbacks last season because they were tied for 23rd in the NFL with 32 team sacks.
San Diego's run defense ranked 20th in yards allowed and they were tied for sixth in allowing the most plays of 20 or more yards on a rushing attempt. San Diego allowed 4.4 yards per rushing attempt which ranked 19th out of 32 teams. Their pass defense was ranked 13th in yards allowed, but San Diego faced the third fewest pass attempts against them among NFL teams.
The Charges allowed 7.9 yards per pass attempt which ranked 28th among all teams. San Diego also ranked last in the NFL at stopping teams on third downs as opponents converted 49 percent of the time against them.
The Lighting Bolts allowed 24 points per game which ranked 22nd and allowed 5.8 yards per play which ranked 25th in the league. San Diego added first round pick Melvin Ingram to help improve their pressure on quarterbacks and Shaun Phillips is returning to form after an injury limited him in 2011. They also added veteran outside linebacker Jarret Johnson as well as second and third round picks Kendall Reyes and Brandon Taylor to help their run defense.
San Diego signed Robert Meachem to help replace Vincent Jackson as well. This is a list of San Diego's five toughest games in the 2012 season in no particular order for level of difficulty. Note that one of these games already happened
Chargers vs Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons finished their 2011 season with a 10-6 record. In the last meeting between these teams prior to this season, Atlanta won 22-16 in San Diego. Matt Ryan and Roddy White exposed San Diego's secondary as Ryan was 17-23 for 207 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while White had six receptions and 112 receiving yards. The two teams met in San Diego for a week three match-up which was won by Atlanta 27-3. The Chargers have a 1-8 record all-time against Atlanta.
Chargers vs Saints
The New Orleans Saints finished their 2011 season with a 13-3 record. In the last regular season game between them, New Orleans defeated San Diego 37-32. This was the only time that Philip Rivers played against his predecessor Drew Brees. Brees finished the game 30-41 with 339 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Rivers was 25-40 with 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Chargers will face New Orleans on Sunday Night Football this week. San Diego is 7-3 all-time against New Orleans and New Orleans has a 0-4 record this season while San Diego is 3-1, but this will still be a tough game.
Chargers vs Broncos
San Diego will play the Denver Broncos in Denver on November 18, 2012. San Diego is 9-3 against Denver in their last 12 games. Denver added one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Peyton Manning who ranks third all-time in touchdown passes and passing yards. Manning ranks fourth in TD passes and sixth in passing yards so far this season.
Chargers vs Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens were 12-4 during the 2011 season and made it to the AFC Championship game. Baltimore was thumped by San Diego 34-14 in week 15 last season. Baltimore will look for revenge as they face the Lightning Bolts in San Diego for a week 12 battle. San Diego is 4-4 all-time vs. the Ravens and won two of the last three games against them.
Chargers vs Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were 12-4 during the 2011 season. Pittsburgh won their last three games against San Diego, is 21-6 all-time against them and is 13-3 in their last 16 games against the Chargers. This includes a 38-28 victory in the 2009 season. The Steel Curtain will face the Lightning Bolts in Pittsburgh on December 9, 2012.