By George T. Wise
It’s baseball season now, but some things are becoming news in professional football which will affect the next season for our Chargers.
Let’s start with the status of the team. The Chargers need two deep defensive backs, such as corners and safeties, as well as a couple of offensive linemen. They also need to add linebackers and at least two nose tackles. We have one starting nose tackle and one reserve that the team hopes will be able to step up. The current administration has done nothing in free agency to add needed players. With the NFL draft coming up in early May, that suggests that most of the needs of the team will be addressed during the draft. That being said, it is rare when a rookie; a recent draftee makes an impact on the team. There are a few exceptions of course, but that is the history of professional football.
The assumption then is that whatever needs have not been addressed during the draft will be primary targets for those still available through free agency. It is highly unlikely the team will be able to draft enough quality players to fill those needs. They’ll be lucky if three out of all the draftees they choose will remain on the roster, so free agency here we come. The danger there is, of course, that the better free agents will be gone by then and the rest will be sought after by several teams; thus they’ll be very expensive.
The management of the team consists of professionals at the top of their abilities, so the Chargers I’m sure have already considered these factors. It will be very interesting, therefore, to see how it all turns out. To see what players are added and through which method. Finally, it is only fair to point out that some of the above needs consist of backup players, and not starters. So, if the team remains healthy we should be okay regardless of which players they add.
Now let’s turn to the schedule for next year, which was just released. We start on Sept. 8 at Arizona, then on Sept. 14 23 play Seattle here. Next we play Buffalo on Sept. 21 and that game is followed by Jacksonville here on Sept. 28. October finds us playing the Jets here on Oct. 5, and we play the Raiders there on the following Sunday. Next, Kansas City plays us here on Oct. 19 and then we are at Denver on Oct. 23. Next we play Miami there on Nov. 2 and that game is followed with a bye week on Nov. 9. On Nov. 16 Oakland plays us here, and then St. Louis comes to town on Nov. 23. On Nov. 30 we play at Baltimore, then entertain New England here on Dec. 7. That game is followed by Denver here on Dec. 14, and on Dec. 20 we play in San Francisco. We end the season at Kansas City on Dec. 28.
Here are my game-by-game predictions:
We should start the season with a win at Arizona, but even though we play Seattle here, they are the defending Super Bowl champs and should win. I believe this game is a toss-up but will count it as a loss nonetheless.
We should win game three at Buffalo, even though they always give us a tough time, as well as winning the following game at Jacksonville.
The Jets are up next and we should win that one, too.
Next up is Oakland and another win for the good guys (us!).
Next Kansas City comes here and we will win that one.
Then we are at Denver, another toss up, but Denver should win at home.
On Nov. 2 at Miami we come home winners, eagerly awaiting the next week’s bye.
After a well- deserved rest, we entertain Oakland here with a win for us, and then go to St. Louis for a tough game we should win.
We then play at Baltimore and will probably lose. Baltimore has a certain mystique about it, along with a very good coach in John Harbaugh, so all that factors in as a huge plus for them. However, then we come home angry and take it out on New England and win that game.
At that point the team is on a high and takes it to the Broncos big time, winning at home here.
The next game is at San Francisco, and I believe we will come home victors.
Finally, we end the season at Kansas City. If we win at San Francisco, we have a great chance at Kansas City, but realistically, Kansas City is a very difficult place for a visiting team to play, so just to be on the safe side and in spite of my prior comments, I’ll list that final game as a loss for us. The prediction is that Kansas City will be greatly improved, as will Denver.
However, I believe in our Chargers and predict they will be the surprise team of the year, and will finally make it to the Super Bowl after a long dry spell and win it for the first time.
I realize most readers will scoff at my predictions, but keep in mind that Playboy magazine employs professionals to analyse the entire NFL and predict the winners of each game and each division, including wild card teams. In spite of all their professionalism and experience, they are invariably wrong every year. So, however strongly you may disagree with my predictions, I believe things will fall into place exactly as I said they would. I certainly can’t do worse than does Playboy, and will probably do better.
Amazingly, if my predictions come through, the San Diego Chargers will finish the year with a 13 win and three loss season. I know it’s far too early to celebrate, and a lot of pieces have to fall into place, but I believe it not only could, but should happen.
George T. Wise is a La Jolla resident, published author and frequent contributor to online blogs.
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