I know, I know. That's not how this series of posts is supposed to go. I'm supposed to predict the Chargers to lose and explain to you all of the reasons that the Green Bay Packers are a better team. However, The Land of Real Beer brought to my attention this morning that I have become too negative in my stance on the Bolts and rather lazy with my viewpoints because of it. You know what? He's kind of right. The world doesn't need another anti-Norv pitchfork holder.
The Chargers defense this season has been okay. Not great, not terrible, but really lacking in a pass rush and no real answer for who could play opposite Shaun Phillips. I think A.J. Smith had a little too much faith in Larry English heading into this season and that Greg Manusky had a little too much respect for Travis LaBoy, but that's neither here nor there. Without a pass rush, the defense has yet to be completely embarrassed (save for Antoine Cason against Plaxico Burress).
San Diego's offense has seen a boost in the running game, typically a weakness, but has struggled because of the turnover-laden play of Philip Rivers. And that's really what it comes down to. Last year at this time, the Charger fans had hope. "This team is good, they just need to figure out Special Teams" is what we found ourselves saying. This year isn't much different, except our faith is in Philip Rivers and Norv Turner instead of Steve Crosby.
Before this season, Rivers would've been the last player on the team that I would've wanted or though could have issues beyond injury with his play on the field. We've heard the stories of how analytical he is, how much tape he watches of himself over the offseason. It didn't seem possible for him to go into a funk like this, and if he started to go in this direction it didn't seem like Philip was the type of player that could be consumed by it as seems to be happening.
Although I still argue that I haven't seen signs of the old Rivers yet this season, when I look at the big picture and think "This team would be good if Rivers could figure himself out", it makes me feel a lot more confident about this team and just about any game they're heading into.
Can the 2011 Chargers, as we've seen them, beat the Green Bay Packers this weekend? Heck no. Not a chance. However, if the 2011 Chargers show up with 2009-2010 Philip Rivers as their QB, which seems like it's a viable option considering the issue could very well be a mental one, they have a chance.
It sounds as if Ryan Mathews and Curtis Brinkley are going to miss this game, along with Kris Dielman. The running game is going to be almost nonexistent. This means that the Chargers will either get blown out of the water by the Packers or that El Capitan of old will show up and duel with Aaron Rodgers at Qualcomm Stadium. At this point, it's anybody's guess. I'm going for the optimistic side of the coin this week.