The 2014 NFL regular season is fast approaching and it is time to get revved up about the team General Manager Tom Telesco is assembling in America’s Finest City. Head Coach Mike McCoy and the rest of his coaching staff turned a team with a below average roster (thanks A.J. Smith!) into a playoff team in his rookie year at the helm. Now that Telesco and McCoy have had another offseason to bolster the roster (Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu, Donald Brown and others) and cut loose some dead weight (Derek Cox, Le’Ron McClain, Johnny Patrick and others), the team is beginning to take the shape envisioned by the current Bolts brass. It is a very exciting time to be a San Diego Chargers fan! That being said, I humbly submit my 2014 season record prediction. I present it in a week by week format and include a thought or two regarding the pick. Enjoy!
Week 1: Chargers at Cardinals
WIN … The Cardinals are an improving team with nice talent in spots, but I believe that our Bolts are deeper and more explosive at this point. We’ll get the season off to a good start in Phoenix.
Week 2: Seahawks at Chargers (1-0)
LOSS … This game will be a nice measuring stick for us. How well do we match up against the elite teams in the league? Well, the answer for now at least, will be not well enough.
Week 3: Chargers (1-1) at Bills
WIN … We’ll squeak out a win in Buffalo in a knock-down, drag-out street-fight type of game. Bills LB Kiko Alonso is a beast and will give us fits. Should be a nail-biter…
Week 4: Jaguars at Chargers (2-1)
WIN … This will be fun. Jaguar rookie QB Blake Bortles will get acquainted with Dwight Freeney early and often. This one shouldn’t be close.
Week 5: Jets at Chargers (3-1)
WIN … Historically, the Jets usually provide a tough matchup for us. It’ll be close for a half, but the Bolts pull away in the 3rd quarter and don’t look back.
Week 6: Chargers (4-1) at Raiders
WIN … The winning streak continues at the dreaded Black Hole. Looking to avenge our loss in Oakland last season, Rivers will torch the silver & black for over 400 yards! Let’s hope D.J. Fluker choke slams at least one Raider before the game ends.
Week 7: Chiefs at Chargers (5-1)
WIN … In a back and forth slugfest, having he home field advantage get the Bolts over the top. This one goes down to the wire as Nick Novak hits a long field goal in the final minute to seal the victory.
Week 8: Chargers (6-1) at Broncos
LOSS … Despite a valiant effort by Philip Rivers, the Broncos have just too much firepower to overcome. Oh, and the fact that the Bronco CBs can basically mug our WRs without ever getting flagged for it…
Week 9: Chargers (6-2) at Dolphins
WIN … Mike McCoy regroups his squad and the Bolts bounce back with a surprisingly easy win in Miami. They head into the bye week with a solid 7-2 record! Nice!!
Week 10: bye.
Week 11: Raiders at Chargers (7-2)
WIN … The Chargers complete the season sweep of the hated Raiders, albeit in close fashion, with a 7 point victory. Great way to get going after the bye week!
Week 12: Rams at Chargers (8-2)
LOSS … This is the definition of a trap game. Coming off an emotional win over a despised rival, the Bolts have the Ravens, Patriots, Broncos and Niners lying immediately ahead of them. The chances of looking past St. Louis are high. The Rams will be a much improved team this season. They get caught napping and drop a game they should’ve won. 🙁
Week 13: Chargers (8-3) at Ravens
LOSS … Still stinging from the Rams defeat, the Bolts come out flat on the road. Rivers presses, trying to get the Bolts back in it, and throws multiple picks. Bad day.
Week 13: Patriots at Chargers (8-4)
LOSS … The Bolts are always hyped for this matchup. Lots of bad blood between the two teams. I expect the Chargers to come out like gangbusters and jump out to a big lead…only to watch the game slip away in the second half. My blood boils. That’s three losses in a row.
Week 14: Broncos at Chargers (8-5)
WIN … McCoy’s familiarity with the Bronco offense comes in very handy once again as the Bolts make Peyton Manning’s life difficult in sunny San Diego. Manning is sacked multiple times and throws a couple picks- one of which is returned for 6 by rookie Jason Verrett! The stadium has a playoff like atmosphere that Rivers later credits for the win.
Week 15: Chargers (9-5) at 49ers
LOSS … The Bolts inability to establish any kind of running game sets up Rivers to struggle. The Niners take advantage of the plethora of known passing situations to frustrate Rivers, causing him to post his lowest QB rating of the season. It’ll be best to just put this one out of our memory and gear up for the season finale against Kansas City…
Week 16: Chargers (9-6) at Chiefs
WIN … Just like last season, the Bolts will need this win to secure a post-season berth. Just like last season, they will beat the Chiefs to make the playoffs! This time, however, they’ll beat the Kansas City starters…
Final record: 10-6
The Chargers earn a Wildcard berth and enter the playoffs as the team that all the “experts” say don’t stand a chance to make it to the Super Bowl. (I guess some things will never change.) Upon arriving back in San Diego after their flight from Kansas City, the Chargers are greeted by thousands of adoring fans. A reporter stops Rivers and asks, “How does this feel right now?” Philip coyly smiles and replies, “We love our fans for being there for us. It feels great every single time. But honestly, we still got work to do. Ask me how it feels after we get back from winning the Super Bowl.” Reporter Booga Peters replies, “I will.”
Five weeks later, he does.
– Coach Rogers