I was reminded earlier today that I've yet to make predictions on the 2012 San Diego Chargers won-loss record. This is always a fun post because it can easily be reference in the months to come as definite proof that I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Let's take this game by game.
Week 1 - @ Oakland Raiders
I hate games in Oakland. I hate the second Monday night game, especially in Week 1. I hate that Jared Gaither and Ryan Mathews, two guys that would've probably been integral to this game, won't play in this game. I hate everything about the situation heading into this game, not the least of which is that the Raiders have a new coach, GM and Owner and they all might actually be competent.
Result: Chargers Lose, 0-1
Week 2 - Tennessee Titans
The opposite of the first game. I like being at home and love the matchup against the Titans. If Mathews is back by then, even better. Tennessee's pass rush is not great and Jake Locker will have some bumps in the road before he figures out how to be a good QB.
Result: Chargers Win, 1-1
Week 3 - Atlanta Falcons
Back-to-back home games? Don't mind if I do. If the Chargers' pass-rush looks good in the first two weeks and their DBs are all healthy, I'm going to love this matchup. If not, it could get a little ugly. Let's be optimists.
Result: Chargers Win, 2-1
Week 4 - @ Kansas City Chiefs
Hate playing in Kansas City. Their team seems scary too. Imagine if they had a really good QB? My goodness. Scott Pioli has done a wonderful job building a dynamic team in KC, and their fans do a wonderful job of freaking the opposing team out.
Result: Chargers Lose, 2-2
Week 5 - @ New Orleans Saints
Don't buy the hype. Those players that have been "unsuspended" today will just be resuspended tomorrow. It's complicated, so you're going to have to believe me. Their coaching mixups over this year lead me to believe that this will be a bad team through at least the first half of the season, but I'm almost alone in thinking that. Whatever, these are my picks.
Result: Chargers Win, 3-2
Week 6 - Denver Broncos
Hello, Peyton Manning. Allow me to reintroduce your old nemesis, the 3-4 defense. No, no … your running game won't help you.
Result: Chargers Win, 4-2
Week 8 - @ Cleveland Browns
Someone get Joe Haden, who happens to be really good, off this team. Everyone else is garbage.
Result: Chargers Win, 5-2
Week 9 - Kansas City Chiefs
Things are a bit more even on the Chargers' home turf. Still, the string of good luck has to run out at some point.
Result: Chargers Lose, 5-3
Week 10 - @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not a very good team on paper. Vincent Jackson makes them almost respectable, but they'll have a hard time slowing down the Chargers' offense.
Result: Chargers Win, 6-3
Week 11 - @ Denver Broncos
A game on the road in Tampa followed by a game on the road against Denver? No west coast team is going to get through that easily, and the Chargers are no exception.
Result: Chargers Lose, 6-4
Week 12 - Baltimore Ravens
I hate this stretch so much. Back-to-back road games against teams in different time zones, followed by two home games against teams that'll beat you up. The Chargers somehow, someway, dominated the Ravens last year. The Ravens are getting older and their secondary stinks and Terrell Suggs is probably not coming back this season … screw it, let's get crazy.
Result: Chargers Win, 7-4
Week 13 - Cincinnati Bengals
So happy that this isn't a road game. As much as I like Andy Dalton, I don't think this team is explosive in any real way; offensively or defensively. As long as the Chargers are relatively healthy around this time, I could see them winning a close one here on field goals.
Result: Chargers Win, 8-4
Week 14 - @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Their defense is so old! Their running game will probably be terrible! They … nevermind. I'm not even going to try.
Result: Chargers Lose, 8-5
Week 15 - Carolina Panthers
Mike Tolbert, Ron Rivera, Rob Chudzinski and a bunch of other people associated with the Chargers return back to San Diego with vengeance in their heart. I'm a little more terrified of Cam Newton and that running game than I probably should be.
Result: Chargers Lose, 8-6
Week 16 - @ New York Jets
I wonder if the time-change thing won't affect the Chargers as much since it's a Sunday night game? Either way, Tim Tebow should be starting by then and it'll be 20 degrees below freezing. There's no way this game will be any fun at all.
Result: Chargers Lose, 8-7
Week 17 - Oakland Raiders
The outcome of this game is completely dependent on if either team actually cares or if they've both missed their chance at the playoffs. I'm going to assume that 9-7 might be enough to make it in from the AFC West and that the Chargers come out firing.
Result: Chargers Win, 9-7
There you have it. Do I love my picks? I don't, but I do think that the Chargers will finish somewhere between 7-9 and 11-5 dependent upon injuries and luck. Therefore, my 9-7 prediction is somewhat an average of that high and low point.