Without me realizing until just now, the San Diego Chargers have released a list of their 2012 opponents for the regular season. The scheduling of games has yet to be released, but we at least now know who the Bolts will match up against. Here we go:
Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski return to San Diego along with a whole host of Chargers cast-offs. That should be a fun game. Playing the Falcons away from their dome is a good thing, as is forcing the Ravens and Bengals to travel cross-country.
After the jump, we'll look at the away games and figure out just how tough this schedule is in relation to the rest of the NFL.
Doesn't it seem like we play the Steelers in Pittsburgh and the Jets in New Jersey every year?
None of these scare me all that much, with the possible exception of the Saints in the Superdome. Fingers crossed that Drew Brees sits out the first few games of the season and misses that matchup. Tampa Bay is still very beatable, even with Vincent Jackson. The Browns still are not very good. As long as the Chargers can avoid Cleveland, Pittsburgh and New Jersey in the month of December, this should be a pretty easy schedule. But how does it match up?
According to Blogging the Boys, who do all the heavy-lifting for us, the Chargers have the 6th toughest schedule according to the 2011 win % of the teams they face. The good news is that the teams they have to travel to face finished .500% last season while the teams that come to San Diego finished with a .539% winning percentage. Facing tougher teams at home is always preferred.
However, since the AFC West had such a terrible point differential last year, the Chargers actually have the easiest schedule in the league according to that metric. The 2012 Chargers opponents were outscored by 368 points in 2011.
All in all, not a terrible schedule. The key to the Chargers making the playoffs, as it is for every team, will be winning games against their own division. If they can finish with a winning record against the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders, that makes things significantly easier.
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