A Complete Team
I know, most of the time these three things are individual players or matchups, but this is what I feel like is the San Diego Chargers' biggest strength: Their lack of weaknesses.
They're strong at just about every position, on both sides of the ball. The only position I don't feel super confident about is the defensive line, and even half of the line is still great.
There's no Antonio Gates and there's not Ladarius Green. So? To me, that just means more opportunities for Danny Woodhead and Stevie Johnson.
It's no longer a question of who is going to make the play, it's a question of who will make the play first. Or, on the offensive side of the ball, it's a question of which guy did the Lions decide to not cover (or put their worst defender on).
There are so many options, on both sides of the ball, that the Chargers don't have to do anything but take advantage of their bevy of playmakers and depth. That makes me very confident.
I said this on the Squadcast earlier this week, but I honestly believe that Chargers fans (and media) have forgotten what a really great team looks like.
For so long, we've come to expect an average team. Somewhere between 7-9 and 10-6, with an average defense and sometimes an above-average offense.
I think we won't let ourselves remember what a nearly-unbeatable team looks like, or what a stud pass-rusher looks like.
Melvin Ingram didn't just look good in the preseason, he looked great. He looked like Shawne Merriman, or vintage Dwight Freeney. Now, while I have my concerns about how well he'll hold up in the second half of the year after dropping about 15-20 pounds in the offseason, I believe that he's set up for an absolutely dominant first half.
Ingram might just terrorize Matt Stafford all game long. In fact, I believe that he will, because the Lions' offensive line is currently in shambles. I think Stafford will struggle to get comfortable in the pocket, and eventually they'll be scheming to try and stop Ingram, which will make them weaker at other places on offense.
I was really tempted to put Danny Woodhead here, because I am very excited for him to be back and think he'll have a big game, but Keenan Allen is my sleeper pick for "breakout player" this year for the Chargers. I think he'll out-do his rookie season and will be the guy handed the mantle from Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates as Philip Rivers' newest "go-to receiver that is always on the same page with his QB".
The San Diego offensive line and running game might be slow to get going, which means there will be plenty of 2nd & long and 3rd & long situations for the passing game, and I can see Keenan Allen stepping up to play a big role on those key downs.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Rashaen Mathis and Darius Slay are the "bigger" type of Cornerbacks that Allen has not seen a lot of in Training Camp. That makes them a better matchup for him, because he can use his footwork and quickness to get by them.