NFL San Diego Chargers

5 Signs That the San Diego Chargers Will Make the Playoffs in 2014

5 Signs That the San Diego Chargers Will Make the Playoffs in 2014

San Diego Chargers
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The San Diego Chargers finished their preseason and will be looking to their first game against the Arizona Cardinals. The team hopes to build off last year's momentum and compete for a playoff spot. Here are five signs that the team will make the playoffs in 2014.

5. The Secondary is Improved

Secondary
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

5. The Secondary is Improved

Secondary
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

The secondary struggled last year, especially against top wide receivers. This year, the Chargers spent a first-round pick on Jason Verrett and signed Brandon Flowers in the offseason. While undersized, these two offer a huge upgrade and should make the secondary much stronger.

4. The First Unit Outplayed the 49ers First Unit

Chargers vs. Niners
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

4. The First Unit Outplayed the 49ers First Unit

Chargers vs. Niners
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

After a rough outing against the Seattle Seahawks, the Chargers came back and dominated the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter. The first unit defense forced fumbles (although one wasn’t ruled as such) and brought constant pressure. The offense was sharp and moved the ball with confidence. While it was a small sample size and the team ended up losing the game, it was an impressive result against one of the top teams in the league.

3. Their Linebackers are Healthy

Linebackers
Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

3. Their Linebackers are Healthy

Linebackers
Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Chargers never seemed to have a healthy set of linebackers, and the unit suffered all season long. This year, Melvin Ingram is poised to have a big year, and Dwight Freeney can serve as the designated pass rusher on third downs. Manti Te’o should continue to build on an impressive end to the season after injuries hampered him early on.

2. Nick Novak Ends Preseason Going 4-4

Nick Novak
Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

2. Nick Novak Ends Preseason Going 4-4

Nick Novak
Jake Roth - USA TODAY Sports

It is often forgotten how important kicking is, and Novak was excellent last season. He had a strong outing in the last preseason game against the Cardinals, making all four attempts in the victory. He will once again be called upon to make some big kicks as the Chargers should be in plenty of close games.

1. Philip Rivers Was Impressive In Preseason

Philip Rivers
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

1. Philip Rivers Was Impressive In Preseason

Philip Rivers
Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

The leader of this team is no doubt Philip Rivers, and there were questions how he would perform after losing his offensive coordinator from last season. He looked extremely sharp in the preseason, and remains an elite option at quarterback. He has more weapons at his disposal this year, and should flourish in the upcoming season.